Derek Wolfe didn’t travel with team to Kansas City


The Broncos left for Kansas City and their second showdown in two weeks with the Chiefs on Friday.  Defensive tackle Derek Wolfe was left behind.

According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Wolfe became ill on Friday afternoon, before the team embarked on its road trip.

Wolfe appeared on the injury report as questionable.  His status could change if he does, or doesn’t, travel individually to Kansas City on Saturday.

The starter already had been struggling to keep his weight up, due in part to food poisoning that he caught after eating some bad spinach (is there such a thing as good spinach?) in the preseason.

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Snow to Bring Travel Delays in New England Sunday

Play video

Watch the above video for a detailed forecast for the Northeast.

A fresh blanket of snow will cause slippery roads on another busy travel day across northern New England.

The snow will arrive on Sunday, which is a bad time for travelers returning home from their Thanksgiving holiday trips.

Snowfall is not expected to be heavy, but it will reduce visibility and coat the roads enough to create some slick spots.

Travel on Interstates 89, 91, 93 and 95 can be slow at times from northern Vermont to Maine.

The snow can also cause delays at the airports in Burlington, Vt., and Bangor, Maine.

Closer to the coast, including in Portland, Maine, snow showers will mix with rain showers.

Post-Holiday Travelers May Face Snow, Rain Delays Sunday
Ski Resorts Open for Season This Holiday Weekend
Flight Delays and Winter Weather Advisories, Watches and Warnings

While snow is not expected to accumulate on the roads in that area, the precipitation could cause some delays at Portland International Jetport.

For area ski resorts, the timing of the snow is welcome, as many are open during the holiday weekend.

Portions of Maine can have 1 to 3 inches of snow on Sunday, while amounts across the rest of northern New England will generally be an inch or less.

Another storm system could bring rain, snow and gusty coastal winds to parts of New England on Monday into Tuesday.

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Pet owners want new travel rules

ORLANDO — Michael Jarboe of Miami paid extra for special airline dog handlers to ensure the safety of his 2-year-old mastiff, BamBam, on a cross-country flight.

Instead, following a layover in Houston in 90-degree heat, baggage handlers found BamBam dead on arrival in San Francisco.

Just in time for the holiday travel season, a petition is calling for new federal rules holding airlines responsible for deaths of animals like BamBam. More than 100,000 signatures were logged on Jarboe’s petition as of late Tuesday, more than half of them added in the past two weeks.

Jarboe said one of his goals is to make pet owners aware about the danger of airline travel.

BamBam, who died in 2012, is hardly alone.

Pets flying with their owners are killed, injured or lost on average once every 10 days, according to Mary Beth Melchior, founder of the watchdog group Where Is Jack Inc. who keeps a tally of large carriers’ reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Her organization is named for a 5-year-old cat who died in 2011 after being lost for two months in New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“You run the same risk of losing your pet as you do your luggage,” said Jarboe. “It’s Russian roulette.”

The Humane Society of the United States suggests driving with your pet or leaving your animal at home with a pet sitter before choosing airline travel.

“Air travel can be so quick that you may think a plane is the best way to transport your pet. Think again. Air travel isn’t safe for pets. The HSUS recommends that you do not transport your pet by air unless absolutely necessary,” the organization’s website cautions.

The tragedy of BamBam gained steam at after the petition was linked to Janet Sinclair’s Facebook page titled “United Airlines Almost Killed My Greyhound” dedicated to her dog Sedona’s flight experience in July.

Sinclair and Jarboe said they both chose to fly with their dogs on United because of its highly regarded Pet Safe program, which was started at Continental Airlines before the carriers’ merger.

Both said the program promised their dogs would be held before and after flights and during layovers in an air-conditioned cargo facility, and transported to and from the planes in an air-conditioned van.

They say the system broke down during layovers in Houston where they say the dogs were left on the tarmac and in non air-conditioned cargo spaces in the summer heat for hours between flights.

“Our goal is the safe and comfortable travel of all the pets that fly with us,” United’s Megan McCarthy said on Tuesday in an email.

“On the rare occasion we don’t deliver on that goal, we work with our customers, their vets and our team of vets to resolve the issue,” she added.

For holiday travelers thinking about flying with a pet, Jarboe, Sinclair and Melchior offer the same advice: Don’t.

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Travel Channel comes to Cleveland and tells the nation our Bizarre food …

Ray’s Sausage is still grinding pig ears, snouts and feet into its popular souse meat. The 62-year-old meat-packing company is the only sign of commerce on Cleveland’s Imperial Avenue.

That’s worth celebrating. The company has managed to hold its own, despite the potential business-killing hurdles it confronted in recent years – including the carnage left in the wake of Anthony Sowell, the serial killer who lived next door.

The Travel Channel has taken notice of Ray’s and the reality that Cleveland is becoming known nationally as a good place to eat. The network visited the region this summer and is scheduled to premier a Cleveland episode of its popular Bizarre Foods America on Monday. The show promotes its quest to find America’s most unique tastes.

The show titled “Cleveland: Pighead Perch” will feature some of Northeast Ohio’s celebrated food sources. The Chef’s Garden, near Huron, with its relentless focus on sustainable agriculture, will be among the businesses featured on the show.

Jonathon Sawyer, the celebrated young chef/owner of Cleveland’s The Greenhouse Tavern, will discuss the delectable joys of a properly cooked pig’s head served on a platter as well as Sawyer’s fixation with creating one of the world’s great vinegars.

The American Slovak Club in Lorain, Ohio is featured and described as the best place for a fish fry that the show’s host, Andrew Zimmern, has ever visited.

Several of the vendors at the Westside Market are showcased as well as a certified Angus Beef laboratory in Wooster.

But it’s the show’s focus on Ray’s Sausage that best highlights the enduring Cleveland spirit. The Travel Channel’s visit to the meat-packing company in many ways reveals what this town is made of and shows how a committed small Cleveland business continues to confront challenge.

No mention is ever made of the serial killer next door. That’s a good thing. The Travel Channel is here to celebrate a food operation, not to recount for a national audience how a deviant attacked the bottom line of a 60-year-old business, costing it tens of thousands in unnecessary expenses, and tons of bad publicity.

Zimmern, the host, calls Ray’s souse meat the best he’s ever had. Zimmern, of course, will eat anything. Souse, which is compressed meat made from pig ears, snouts and tongues, is the company’s signature product. It’s not for everyone. But those who love it really love it.

This time three years ago, though, things were very different. The company, owned by Renee and Ray Cash Jr., and managed by Leslie Cash, Renee’s daughter, was far from clear on its future in Cleveland.

The Travel Channel spotlight is a welcome reprieve for a company that still shoulders the burden of a weak economy not to mention the aftermath of Sowell. Today, the company continues to operate on Imperial Avenue while looking for a bigger facility in order to expand its operation.

“We’ve outgrown this building. But for a small business, trying to expand in this economy isn’t the easiest thing in the world. But we’re hanging in there. We see good things ahead,” said Leslie Cash.

That’s the Cleveland spirit.

And what about Leslie Cash’s time in the national spotlight with the Travel Channel? It’s an entertaining cameo, which could catch the eyes of a food show producer somewhere.

“It felt so good to have television cameras here in the neighborhood for a positive story about Cleveland. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

The host of the show, Zimmern, perhaps said it best, however, when he offers this brief commentary on the city in the show’s final credits.

“Cleveland isn’t a comeback city. The spirit that defines the place never really left.”

Finally. A network with a national audience is acknowledging what we already know.

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Sweden’s top-grossing pic ‘Monica Z’ Set to Travel Overseas (EXCLUSIVE)

MARRAKECH — Per Fly’s “Monica Z” (“Waltz For Monica”) Sweden’s highest-grossing film, is set to travel to a raft of overseas territories.

Deals were unveiled on Friday, the opening day of Marrakech Film Festival, where “Monica Z” will be playing as part of the focus on Scandinavian cinema.

Repped by Svensk Filmindustri, “Monica Z,” a biopic of jazz-singer-turned-thesp Monica Zetterlund, set in the 50s and 60s,  has sold to France (Chrysalis), Japan (Broadmedia Studios), South Korea (Focus Company), Taiwan (Cineplex), Czech Republic (Film Europe), Estonia (Estinfilm), Greece (Hollywood Entertainment), China (Edko Films) and Turkey (Cinema TV).

 “A new generation has discovered the world and music of Monica Zetterlund which is what I hoped for when starting the project,” said Lena Rehnberg, who produced via Stella Nova Film.

Toplining up-and-comer Edda Magnason, “Monica Z” currently tops the Swedish B.O. with an estimated $6.9 million gross from over half-a-million tickets sold since its Sept. 13 opening.

“Monica Z” played at Montreal film festival. 

Marrakech film fest runs through Dec. 7. 

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More Black Friday/Cyber Monday travel deals

Here’s a list of New England hotel deals for Black Friday/Cyber Monday from yesterday’s Herald. But now, here’s a few more Black Friday/Cyber Monday travel deals – some good for a road trip, others a little further out.

Check each deal for small print and/or blackout dates.

  • Maine’s Sunday River Resort recently announced that it will sell rooms at its Snow Cap Inn for as little as $59 during its second annual One Day Sale on Cyber Monday, December 2, 2013.
  • The Colby Hill Inn in Henneker, N.H. is having a gift certificate sale - Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 Only: $50-$99 – 10% off; $100- $149 – 15% off; $150 and up – 20% off. Call 1-800-531-0330 or 603-428-3281 or visit Gift Certificates can be used for dining, romantic getaways or cooking classes.
  • The San Francisco Travel Association is encouraging visitors to plan on spending at least an extra hour – if not an extra day – reveling in San Francisco’s holiday spirit. To make it even more inviting, they are offering “49 Hours of SF: Holidays” hotel deals featuring deeply-discounted rates when booked at www.49HoursofSF.comVisitors who stay three or more nights at participating hotels can receive up to 25% off the entire stay. This offer is valid through March 31, 2014.
  • Plan an extended weekend in the city of Chicago’s famed Gold Coast area. On Cyber Monday, if you book two nights at Thompson Chicago, you get one night free. This exclusive Cyber Monday offer includes accommodations in a Superior King Room for two, greeted arrival at airport, complimentary private airport transportation to and from the hotel, and a special welcome amenity for a total cost of only $549. For reservations, visit and use promo code CYBERM2013.
  • Travelers looking for special savings on Cyber Monday can purchase $50 hotel rooms at Morey Hotels to stay and play along the beautiful beaches of Wildwood, NJ.
  • Book an escape to Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, an American Camp-Era resort that is just a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles in the stunning San Bernardino Mountains. This Cyber Monday, Southern California’s first Marriott Autograph Collection property is offering deals to both leisure guests and groups. For vacationers, the resort will offer 20% off standard resort rates and waive the $20/per day resort fee for stays Monday-Thursday from November 2013 – March 2014.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line is launching a limited time offer to celebrate the biggest shopping days of the year, especially for those who want to give the unparalleled gift of cruising. Power shoppers who book a new cruise reservation to any of Norwegian’s exciting destinations including the Caribbean, Bahamas Florida; or Hawaii from Wednesday, November 27 through Tuesday, December 3, 2013, will receive up to $250 per stateroom to spend on board (based on cruise length and stateroom category). Air credits up to $1,000, Military, Latitudes Rewards and AARP discounts are also available on select sailings. See more specials here.
  • The Seagate Hotel Spa in Delray Beach, Florida, is offering a special CYBER MONDAY this year. Guests can book a Deluxe Room at a standard rate ($50 savings) and receive a $50 resort credit and waived valet parking fee (regularly $19). Overall, this represents a 26% savings. Booking Date is Monday, December 2, 2013 (must book offer on this date ONLY). Valid for stays January 1, 2014 – November 1, 2014. Promo Code: CYBERMONDAY.
  • Book your winter vacation to Telluride, CO between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and save up to 50% at Hotel Madeline Telluride for stays from November 29th through December 18th, 2013. In a coveted ski-in/ski-out location in Mountain Village, Hotel Madeline Telluride is offering a one-of-a-kind Ski Spa package, which combines access to the resort’s 2,000 skiable-acres and the hotel’s relaxing spa. For $600 total, guests who book the Ski Spa package on Cyber Monday will receive two nights in a deluxe king room, breakfast for two, two one-day ski passes, and two 60-minute Swedish massages.

Wyndham Resorts/Shell Hospitality specials:






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Airfare: $733 round trip LAX to Warsaw for winter, early spring travel

It might be a bit brisk during the months of this round-trip airfare special from LAX  to Warsaw on Aeroflot, but the price will warm your heart: $733, which includes all taxes and fees.

It is subject to availability, and you must stay a Saturday night for travel between Jan. 24 and April 12.

Warsaw’s motto — “It defies the storms” — refers to its tumultuous history (it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, mostly recently during World War II), rather than its weather. According to MyForecast, the average high in January is 33, with an average of 23 days of precipitation; in February, it’s a degree warmer with four fewer days of precipitation; by March, it’s a blistering 44 for the high, with 18 days of precipitation. Pack accordingly.

Info: Aeroflot, (888) 340-6400.

Source: Airfarewatchdog

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Travel gadgets: Keep comfy, organized, connected – Tribune

Today’s travelers want to be comfortable, organized and connected. With those themes in mind, here are some gift ideas, starting with suggestions from three folks who travel for a living.

GoPro and a power strip

Brian Stacey, director of new-product development for Tauck, the cruise and tour company, says his must-haves include Creative Labs noise-canceling headphones for air travel ($60), and a GoPro camera, which he describes as “the hottest thing out thereâ€� (newest model, HERO3+ Black Edition, $400). The tiny digital camera can go underwater or “attach to pretty much anything — your helmet, arm, leg, canoeâ€� — and take video and photos while you’re moving.

He also loves the Orvis businessman’s backpack ($150 to $200). Among the things he stashes in it are a bottle protector from TravelSmith ($24) to bring home wine or olive oil without worrying about spills and a Belkin power strip ($20). With a power strip, he can charge five gadgets with one hotel-room outlet. If he’s traveling internationally, he needs only one adapter.

Polaroid and lavendar

Harriet Lewis, vice chairwoman of the tour company Overseas Adventure Travel, recommends the new digital Polaroid camera ($178). She can take photos of people she meets and print copies on the spot, which is a nice way to engage with locals who don’t have easy access to printed images. The 21st-century Polaroid also prints multiple copies, offers a choice of borders, previews photos before printing and saves images to upload.

Lewis’ personal comfort items make great stocking stuffers: scented herbal wipes (Herban Essentials, $16), pocket hand-warmers for cold places ($2) and lavender oil ($10 in health-food stores). She sprinkles lavender on bed sheets and in her bath and rubs it on her temples and wrists. (Some travelers sprinkle it on luggage and clothing, as it’s said to repel bed bugs.)

All about the bag

Edward Piegza vowed never to check bags again after an airline lost his family’s luggage on a trip to London. Piegza, founder of the small-group luxury tour company Classic Journeys, now uses a carry-on zippered Victorinox bag ($235), which won’t tear when stuffed. For kids and teens, he recommends a High Sierra wheeled backpack with detachable daypack (AT7 model, $176). His sons have used their High Sierra bags for more than 10 years in two dozen countries.

Piegza also recommends Nike Free running shoes — lightweight, comfy and quick-drying ($100); fun, customizable luggage tags from ($10); and a Gorillapod stand ($20 to $30) that secures iPhones to anything “from a tree branch in a Costa Rican jungle to a cliffside terrace in Amalfi.� Combined with a timer app, “you can take some great selfies in spectacular settings.�

Finally, for the ladies, Piegza suggests a pashmina wrap. His wife treasures hers because it’s soft, light and easily accessorizes various outfits. It also folds up small but is big enough to serve as a blanket.

Staying organized

Cellphone, iPod, tablet, Kindle, camera — many travelers carry them all, plus chargers and cables. sells Kangaroom storage bags to protect and organize gadgets. A two-sided cord pouch ($25) has 10 see-through compartments with slots you can label and removable dividers so compartments can be enlarged. The compact personal media pouch ($13) has six small pockets and can fit a Kindle or iPad Mini too.

Kohl’s carries toiletry kits for young travelers with Batman and Superman logos, and for men, a Dockers brand ($40). ToiletTree has a classy black-leather kit ($20), while Flight 001 offers colorful Avery cosmetic bags with Eiffel Tower and white cross-on-red logos ($35).

Staying connected

For charging gadgets overseas, Flight 001 sells a compact adapter with four color-coded plugs, good for 150 countries ($25), along with a dual-wattage converter ($30) to use North American appliances overseas.

To keep cellphones working on the go, give the gift of backup power, like Anker’s Astro Slim2 external battery ($33). Charge the battery beforehand, and when the phone dies, plug it into the battery. For sunny climes, consider a solar-powered charger. Popular brands include Anker, Solio and Goal Zero, but do your research. Consumer reviews suggest some don’t work as well as advertised.

For bikers

Gifts for bikers — whether long-distance or day-trippers — include DeFeet Blaze wool socks ($12 to $15); a handlebar bag like the waterproof Topeak DryBag with map cover ($75); a multitool for repairs and adjustments, like Pedro’s ICM ($34.50); and a phone case that can be mounted on handlebars, like the Topeak RideCase ($50).

For fun, comfort and convenience

For the traveler who wants to fill a home away from home with music, consider a small, portable speaker. The NudeAudio Move M, about the size of a fat wallet, has an eight-hour battery, is Bluetooth-enabled and has rich sound that rivals much bigger, pricier models ($70).

Travelers who want to show off where they’ve been might like Flight 001′s Scratch-Off Map ($20). A layer of gold film rubs off to reveal countries visited in blue; available in December as a scratch-off 3-D globe puzzle ($32).

For kids, here’s a freebie: Travelzoo’s “Map the World,â€� a new iPad app with nine puzzles that teach geography.

Women can shrug off rainy days while traveling light with the hooded Rainrap ($60). Water beads off the silky fabric; it weighs under 9 ounces, drapes like a cape and is reversible; it’s available in eight two-color combinations.

You can’t wear flip-flops in snow, but Pakems are the next best thing: lightweight, comfy, rubber-soled, water-resistant shoes that slip on after ski boots or ice skates come off. They come in five colors, high and low tops, and are foldable with a strapped carry bag ($60 to $70).

Finally, even folks who can’t get away can enjoy a local adventure or dinner cruise. makes it easy to give everything from zip-lining to walking tours in destinations nationwide.

Beth J. Harpaz is a staff writer for the Associated Press.

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‘Before I Die’ walls turn dreams into words

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Candy Chang created the first Before I Die wall in 2011 on the side of an abandoned building in New Orleans. It disappeared a few months later when a developer bought the structure. Since then, more than 400 walls have sprung up in 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Chile. Check out some of the hopes and dreams being shared on walls around the globe: Candy Chang created the first “Before I Die” wall in 2011 on the side of an abandoned building in New Orleans. It disappeared a few months later when a developer bought the structure. Since then, more than 400 walls have sprung up in 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Chile. Check out some of the hopes and dreams being shared on walls around the globe:
















(CNN) — After losing a close friend to liver failure, Candy Chang spent a lot of time thinking about how she wanted to live out her days. Contemplating death brought clarity to her life, but she struggled to maintain perspective amid the daily grind.

She wondered whether other people went through the same struggle, and what mattered to them. She decided to invite others to share those thoughts by painting a chalkboard on the side of an abandoned house in New Orleans stenciled with the sentence “Before I die I want to ________.”

What began as an experiment in making a public space into a shared spaces has become a global art project, with more than 400 “Before I die” walls in 60 countries and 25 languages. It’s been quite the journey for Chang, who did not launch the project with plans to expand beyond New Orleans. But it resonated among pockets of passionate people around the globe.

“Our public spaces are as profound as we allow them to be,” Chang, an artist, designer and urban planner, said in an e-mail.

Before I die, I want to…

“Our public spaces are our shared spaces, and they have a lot of potential to offer us a more valuable and meaningful kind of life. I think about why we came together in the first place. Some of the earliest gathering places were graves and sacred groves. We gathered so we could grieve together and worship together and console one another and be alone together.”

Many of the walls disappear a few months after they’re “born,” just like Chang’s did, after someone bought the building and renovated it. Then, others pop up. Such is life.

In honor of the release of the first book celebrating Before I die’s global footprint, we asked Chang to reflect upon the most common themes expressed in the walls. Hopefully, they inspire you to reconsider your hopes, dreams and aspirations.

1. Well-being

“Before I die” came out of Chang’s grief and depression, and the responses “have reassured me that I’m not alone as I try to make sense of myself,” she said.

“Carl Jung said it’s easier to go to the moon than it is to penetrate one’s own being. Mental health takes as much exertion as physical health,” she said.


“Abandon all insecurities” (New Orleans)

“Come to terms with who I am” (Washington)

Meditations on well-being on a wall in Townsville, Australia.

“Slow down for a moment and maybe even stop” (Portsmouth, Hew Hampshire)

“Find serenity” (Vicenza, Italy)

“Stop being afraid” (Jerusalem)

“Overcome depression” (Newport News, Virginia)

“Lose my fear of death” (Trujillo, Peru)

“Find what I’m looking for (San Francisco)

“Heal” (Montreal)

“Find closure” (Erfurt, Germany)

“Keep getting better every day” (Chung-Li, Taiwan)

“Feel comfortable in my skin” (Burning Man festival)

“Reach my constant happiness” (Berlin)

“Learn to be brave” (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

“Right all my wrongs” (Brooklyn)

“Learn how to enjoy myself and let go” (Savannah, Georgia)

“Feel that nothing was missing or left over” (Santiago, Chile)

2. Love

“Love and be loved” is one of the most common responses on walls around the world, Chang said. She’s also seen budding romance on walls.

“In New Orleans, someone wrote, ‘Before I die I want to eat a salad with an alien,’ and someone else drew an arrow and wrote ‘Before I die I want to marry this person,’ ” she said.


“Love her until the end of the world” (Cordoba, Argentina)

“Sleep with a harp player” (Lisbon, Portugal)

Giving and receiving love are recurring themes on the walls.

“Get married for the 10th time” (Dublin)

“Find and kiss her one last time” (Chicago)

“Find my true love” (Beijing)

“Love recklessly again” (New Orleans)

“Find my other half” (Madrid)

“Accompany him forever” (Chung-Li, Taiwan)

“Be loved unconditionally” (Jersey City, New Jersey)

3. Travel

Who doesn’t have a long list of places they’d like to visit?

Travel can be the hardest thing to find the time and money to invest in, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming and plotting adventures.

“My family had a big white van that we drove all over the place when I was a kid,” Chang said. “Ever since, traveling has been my school and my therapy. I’ve taken many road trips across America, and I worked in Nairobi, Helsinki, Medan, Johannesburg and beyond. Those experiences deeply shaped who I am today. It’s made me more open-minded, reflective, compassionate, and grateful.”


“Travel around the world by foot” (Almaty, Kazakhstan)

“Ride a motorcycle across South America” (Cordoba, Argentina)

Travel goals in Reno, Nevada:

“Take my wife to Liverpool” (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

“Ride my bike up the top ten highest mountains in Thailand” (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

“Visit Venice with the love of my life” (Auckland, New Zealand)

“Drive Route 66″ (Melbourne, Australia)

“Travel across India on a bike” (Hyderabad, India)

“Straddle the International Date Line” (New Orleans)

“Finish climbing Everest” (Reno, Nevada)

“Enjoy a pleasant cruise” (Pohang City, South Korea)

4. Helping others

Many of us say we’d like to “donate lots of money,” “change a child’s life,” “help my neighbor” or “build a public school and a shelter.” But putting others ahead of ourselves can be a tall order for some, especially in an era of instant gratification.

But, it’s never too late, said Chang, and even the smallest gesture can last a lifetime.

“I’ll never forget a middle school art teacher who encouraged me when I was full of self-doubt, a neighbor who fixed my bike pedal or a stranger who went out of his way to return my lost bag. Compassion lasts much longer than the moment.”


“Teach kids to live love and be free” (Johannesburg)

“Save lives” (Dubai)

“Help people through neuroscience” (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

“Fix Nick’s car” (Cape Town, South Africa)

“Make someone’s day” (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

“See a just society” (Madrid)

“Do something for animals and make the world a better place” (Hyderabad, India)

5. Family

“Making this project made me realize how much more I want to know my parents,” Chang said. “I’m glad we’re at a stage where we’re good friends now, and I ask them fifty questions for every photograph from their childhood. Each week, my dad sends me endearing stories that only enhance the inspiring mythology of our lives.”


“Bring peace of mind to my mom” (Brooklyn)

“See my youngest fly” (Minneapolis)

“See where my grandma grew up” (Townsville, Australia)

“See my parents again” (Erfurt, Germany)

“Speak with my children one last time” (Cordoba, Spain)

“Make my parents proud” (Burning Man festival)

“See my daughter graduate” (New Orleans)

“Be back in my kid’s life” (Reno, Nevada)

“Build a house for my mother” (Trujillo, Peru)

“Meet my daughter” (Montreal)

“Be a grandfather” (Madrid)

“Take care of my parents” (Hyderabad)

“Have seven children” (Asunción, Paraguay)

“Raise good kids” (Charleston, South Carolina)

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Travel Deals: ski, holiday packages – U

Riverside’s historic Mission Inn Hotel Spa definitely dresses for the holidays — with nearly 4 million lights and more than 400 animated elves, angels and carolers. Join in the spirit by visiting during the hotel’s annual Festival of Lights. The $199 “Visions of Sugar Plums” package includes a Sunday-through-Thursday-night stay, a six-pack of holiday cupcakes, a keepsake copy of “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” an aromatherapy candle, valet parking and all taxes. There’s no resort fee — but be forewarned that the package is charged in full at the time of booking and is nonrefundable. The offer is valid through Jan. 2 (except New Year’s Eve). Book online at or phone (800) 843-7755.

Ski season is here. Big Bear is offering discounted lift and lodging packages starting Dec. 9. Rates start as low as $69 per person, based on double occupancy — and include all-day, interchangeable lift tickets good for both Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, with free shuttle service between resorts. (Adult midweek lift tickets alone cost $60.) Weekend package rates start at $89 per person, per night, with double occupancy and a minimum two-night stay required. The starting price will land you at either the Hillcrest Lodge ( or Big Bear Hostel ( Packages are available through the ski season, except during holiday periods, including Dec. 21-Jan. 5, Jan. 18-20 and Feb. 15-17. Book online at or phone (800) 424-4232.

More ski deals: At Keystone Resort ( in Colorado, kids 12 and younger ski free all season long. There’s a two-night minimum stay required, but there are no lift ticket requirements for adults and no blackout dates … Through Dec. 20, Taos Ski Valley ( in New Mexico is offering adult lift tickets for $55, instead of the regular $77 per day … Get half-price lift tickets for your first day of skiing at Alta/Snowbird in Utah by presenting your printed airline boarding pass to any ticket window at Alta or Snowbird within 24 hours of arriving at Salt Lake International Airport. (Electronic boarding passes won’t be accepted.) The deal is valid Mondays through Fridays through the winter ski season and requires pre-registration at or Alta/Snowbird lift tickets cost $105, so you’ll save $52.50 … Through the season at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe, present your same-day airline boarding pass and photo ID at the Guest Services Center to ski free that afternoon (and evening when night skiing is available at Squaw). Learn more:

Know somebody who lives in Santa Barbara? It could be your passport to a holiday travel deal. More than two dozen Santa Barbara hotels are offering “family and friends” of locals a percentage off regular rates and/or a free night’s stay with a minimum number of nights booked. Deals vary, but most are valid through Jan. 15. Check it out at

Never been to China? Smartours has an enticing deal. For $999 (or more likely, $1,099), get round-trip transportation from San Francisco on Air China, five nights at the Penta Hotel in Beijing, three nights at the Holiday Inn Downtown in Shanghai, plus intra-China flights and transfers, daily breakfast and guide services. Rates are per person, based on double occupancy, and must be booked by Dec. 18 for departures through March 2. Add $140 per person for China visas. Smartours shaves $100 per person off the price for those who pay by check. Learn more at

Look for the Travel Deals column on the first Sunday of each month. Prices quoted are subject to change. Restrictions and blackout dates may apply and all deals are subject to availability.

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