The Space Between the Notes
Feb 17 2013

musical_note_4188“Music is the space between the notes.”  ~ Claude Debussy

Everyone is so busy these days. We fill our lives with things that take us from here to there in minutes, when even just fifty years ago it might have taken us hours or days to do something.  The infrequent times I get to work on my music are the times I get to exercise a different part of my brain.  I’m in the middle of getting two songs produced with a professional named Ron Wikso. I’m learning a ton about the process, and he has been patiently explaining it to me.

The phrase “between the notes” has come to my mind often these last few weeks as I’ve found myself with a little more time to work on my songs, but I struggle with enjoying the space…the temporary lull in some of the noise…because there are so many other pressing daily life details that need to be attended to with the kids, job stuff, house stuff, etc.

I think that not only in “music,” but also in life the most poignant moments can lay in the space in between the noise of our daily lives.  The times when things in our lives are on pause (or change dramatically) while we wait for the next great refrain or chorus to start are often ignored, because we are waiting for the “silence” in one part of the symphony of our lives to end and the activity/music to begin.  Unlike an already written sheet of music, we don’t know if the next refrain in our lives will be a joyous beat, a steady (a.k.a. boring) rhythm, a pleasant melody, or the background music from a horror movie.  We don’t know, yet we often live in the anxiety and can’t enjoy the space…the space to explore other options or even to take a nap!

True learning, profound connection, and great discoveries have been known to happen in the space between thoughts, yet most of us are afraid of that space.  We don’t often choose the space or if it chooses us, we don’t know what to do with it.  It has been proven that meditation has many benefits when you can stop the thinking and sit still in silence, but it’s not easy.  “I think therefore I am” could have easily been said “I am therefore I think, play, laugh, feel, love, etc.”

The more we are able to quiet our thoughts and live in that space, the more peace we seem to achieve and the more positive impact we have on those around us.  The challenging nature of that endeavor mixed with the constant flux of our lives is why I believe there are very few gurus and prophets in this world.  Most of them are men who did not have kids or had someone else taking care of their kids.  Many of them also did not want or need money and were fine with sitting under a tree or in a cave meditating most of the time.  If I had no kids, I might try that life for a while. :-)

May the space between the notes in your music or the choruses of your lives become great defining points in the stories you tell.  I already know I’ll be a grandma or teacher with the best First World “war” stories based on the space between the notes of my life…

Author: | Filed under: FYI, networking, random stuff, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Groundhog Day – February 2, 2013
Feb 2 2013

groundhogHappy Groundhog Day!  According to the Washington Post: Groundhog Day 2013: No shadow for Punxsutawney Phil, so spring is around the corner.  It feels like it’s been Spring in Austin, Texas for a while now.

Like the main character in the movie Groundhog Day (wikipedia), I find that February 2, 2013 has some de ja vu elements to February 2, 2012.  In others it’s completely different.  I think I have grown & learned a lot since last year but apparently I, like many others, still have much to learn.  Guess that’s what makes life worth living: the new & unexpected adventures around the corner vs. being trapped in the same day-to-day experience unable to even drive yourself (while holding a groundhog) over a cliff to escape.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, guest post, Just For Fun | Tags: | Comments Off

The Impermanence of all That Exists
Jan 13 2013

mandala-tibet-jan2013This weekend I went to the Blanton Museum of Art exhibit that showcased Tibetan monks building a sand mandala.  After spending days and hours creating this mandala out of fine, colored sand, they “dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists.”

I wonder if entrepreneurs who achieve the most success, not only in dollars but also impact on the world, truly understand that everything is impermanent which results in a shift in how they perceive risk.  Steve Jobs could have floundered in his business in the early days, as most entrepreneurs do, instead of becoming a household name for founding Apple and Pixar.  I’m sure he and his team threw away many designs or product ideas that they spent countless hours on, but they kept on painstakingly placing the grains of sand on each next iteration. If a few grains of sand shifted in some of the most popular designs he had envisioned in his head, we may never have known he existed.  And now even he is gone but his company lives on…for now.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun, steve jobs, success | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thankful – 2012
Nov 25 2012

Another Thanksgiving in the US has passed.  It’s nice to have a holiday to remind us to be thankful and grateful for the many positive things in our lives as well as for the challenges we have overcome.  I was reviewing my past Thanksgiving posts and last year I wrote Thankful – 2011 (such an original title!) and included a photo of a dragon from my October 2011 trip to China.  That trip was amazing, the memories wonderful, and I made some great new friends who I still hang out with.

I also wrote a post on Nov 30, 2008 called The Strength Of A Thought, and I still wonder the same about “thoughts” but have softened my query and am moving more toward observation/acceptance of my musing on that day: “So, how do we rule our thoughts instead of our thoughts ruling us?  Or maybe the question is can we accomplish this in this lifetime? In this body? In this experience? Oh what power our thoughts have on the direction we step in our lives…whether it’s right, left, backward, straight, or directly into stardust…into our dreams.”

Reason for photo: The kids insisted on taking the cloud photo a few weeks back that I’m using in this post.  My son felt quite certain that the middle cloud looked exactly like a dragon’s foot and my daughter agreed.  I’m thankful for their vivid imaginations.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, holiday, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Happy Halloween – 2012
Oct 31 2012

Halloween is an interesting day that brings up memories from my youth through adulthood.  I love that my kids are so excited about it and enjoy trick or treating.  My son dressed up as a Jawa and my daughter as a Native American (that’s what it said on the package her costume came in).  People kept calling her Pocahontas and she kept correcting them saying she was a Native American, not Pocahontas. :-)

I used to love spreading out the candy I got on the floor of our living room when I was a kid.  My favorite sweet things were pixie sticks (pure sugar). As a teenager, I enjoyed dressing up as a belly dancer wearing an army jacket.  I had an absolute blast at our company Halloween party on the 25th of October.  I dressed up as Uhura from Star Trek and there were many others dressed up as Star Trek characters so we could have easily formed a whole crew.  I finally had to buy a new costume because for the past seemingly 10 years, I sometimes dressed up as an Egyptian princess.  Anyway, I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, holiday | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Marketing Cloud Summit – Austin, Texas – October 25, 2012
Oct 22 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Get a jump on your 2013 marketing planning in this “meeting of the minds” afternoon in Austin, Texas.  Bulldog Solutions, where I work, is one of the sponsors of this event along with many other well known companies in the B2B marketing space.

Join us for an educational summit in Austin, Texas, hosted by the Marketing Cloud™ and featuring Jay Gaines of SiriusDecisions, who will present “2013 Planning Methodology to Maximize Revenue,” SiriusDecisions’ ground-breaking marketing planning methodology. Customers and partners of the Marketing Cloud will then present real-world case studies that illustrate the planning assumptions offered by Jay.  

You’ll learn why:

  • Your marketing must be a BLEND
  • FOCUS on the persona is critical
  • It really is time to MOBILIZE
  • You must ELEVATE to be relevant
  • BALANCE is everything

Who should attend: Marketing and sales leaders responsible for delivering revenue in 2013 in the areas of strategy, infrastructure or programs.

Date:  Thursday, October 25, 2012

Time:  1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CST (followed by a cocktail reception)

Place:  Hilton Austin, 500 E. 4th St. Austin, Texas 78701

Register Now...

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, marketing | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Science Fiction, Halloween Parties, and Time Travel
Oct 8 2012

I love science fiction.  I’ve always been fascinated by outer space, intelligent aliens, and strange places.  I haven’t seen or read a ton of sci-fi, but movies and TV shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica always got my interest.  So, I was happy to hear that the 8th annual Halloween party theme at the place I work, Bulldog Solutions, is Sci-Fi/Glam Rock.  Everyone is invited and apparently 400+ people show up each year.  I already found my outfit (Star Trek theme), but I had to search for it online. I did not want to be Princess Leia from Star Wars and that was pretty much the only costume readily available for women at the costume stores.  All you have to do is RSVP on the Battlestar Spectacula facebook page if you want to come.

Oh, if you are into time travel go see the movie Looper starring Bruce Willis.  Guys in the future hire guys in the past to kill criminals/mob gangsters/enemies and when they decide they don’t need them anymore, they close their loop and send their older self back to be killed by their younger selves.  It’s definitely action packed and thought provoking. I wish there was less violence, but despite all the blood & guts, I found the storyline interesting.  I think they left it open ended enough that there might be a sequel.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, movie reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Appreciate Your Employees. It’s Good For Business.
Sep 19 2012

Infographics are the rave right now.  Spell check hasn’t realized that infographic is a new word.  We create infographics for our clients where I work.  We also, in our spare time, create infographics for ourselves.  I happened upon this cool infographic on HR Morning (via a link from Texas CEO magazine) and had to share.  It’s so obvious to me that thanking your employees is good for business, but for some reason 65% of workers don’t receive ANY praise or appreciation.  They must work where Dilbert works.  Appreciating your kids, your friends, or your partners in life is so important.  A few kind and thankful words can go a long way in fostering loyalty, solving misunderstandings, building bridges, and most importantly bringing out the smiles & laughter. :-)

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, Just For Fun | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Lego Fest Mania – Austin – September 2012
Sep 2 2012

Lego KidsFest was impressive!  We were there pretty much the entire time we could be this morning.  It was at the Austin Convention Center and it was packed full of fun.  Mostly boys signed up for the workshop with the Lego master.  He talked to them about interweaving Lego’s and told him he was the youngest master Lego builder in the company.  He was 29 and had helped build, among many other things, the Lightening McQueen sculpture.  He said it took 1,800 hours to build and weighed about 1 ton.  They had many figures placed around the showroom floor like the Hulk, Batman, Hagrid, Wonder Woman, Superman, Toy Story characters, Ninjago characters, as well as many animals.  Who knew you could make a living building figures out of Lego’s?

The kids could build sections for the mini-nation they were assembling in one section of the showroom floor.  The photo in this post  is of a tower my son built representing the UT tower, and he asked to have it placed it in Texas.  My daughter built another tower and asked to have it placed it in Colorado.  Together the kids built a super tall tower and placed it in California I think.  They said there will be an aerial view of the entire area on their website after the Fest was over.

Lego started a line called Lego friends aimed at girls that had stereotypical pink colors and designs to build houses, patios, landscape gardens, etc.  My daughter and her two friends spent much of their time in that area.  Apparently, Lego’s sales to the girl market went from 10 to 27% after they designed that product line.  Go figure.  Girls like to build, but we still seem to like to build using small purple and pink pieces.  Maybe in 10 to 15 years because Lego created products that girls (or parents of girls) like playing with, we will see more women pursuing career paths in design and construction.  Who knows…

Author: | Filed under: FYI, Just For Fun, parenting | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

One Giant Leap For Mankind
Aug 26 2012

Neil Armstrong died August 25 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was the first man to walk on the moon (Washington Post).  He performed that amazing feat before I was born.  Despite his apparent disdain of publicity, he will always be remembered for his famous words: “One small step for man.  One giant leap for mankind.”  His walking on the moon in 1969 was science fiction come to life.  According to the Washington Post article:

Although the world remembers him best for walking on the moon, Mr. Armstrong recalled his time on the surface as anticlimactic, “something we looked on as reasonably safe and predictable.” Flying the LM was “by far the most difficult and challenging part” of the mission, he told a group of youngsters in a 2007 e-mail exchange.

The “very high risk” descent was “extremely complex,” he wrote, and guiding the craft gave him a “feeling of elation.”

“Pilots take no particular joy in walking,” he once remarked. “Pilots like flying.””

I wonder who will be the first to successfully land an aircraft and walk on Mars

Author: | Filed under: FYI | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Music and Dance – Lyrics and Swing
Jun 2 2012

I saw Les Miserables for the second time in my life earlier this week.  It was good.  I saw it in London in my 20’s for the first time and that was great!  I love musicals for many reasons including the fact that they aren’t operas or ballets.  I fell in love with the actor’s voice who played the part of Jean Valjean in London.  I would have followed him anywhere after he sang Bring Him Home.  The thing about good music and lyrics are their ability to touch your heart and soul and elicit emotions that are sometimes deeply buried.  We are feeling beings and in our world, we often forget that and hide our true natures behind a facade of “having it all together” or “playing the part.”  Music is one of the safest ways to express our humanity and the vagaries of our hearts.

I also went swing dancing for the first time this week.  Every Thursday evening at the Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs Headquarters (a.k.a. The Mansion), they have a class that starts around 8:15 to teach beginners how to swing or do the Lindy hop .  I enjoyed it!  It was non stop dancing/learning and not too many toes were stepped on.  Young and older folks were there.  We made a big circle and switched partners every few minutes and one time I ended up across a 14 year old boy who seemed mature & remarkably not embarrassed for his age.  Some girl will be lucky that he learned how to dance at such a young age!

Author: | Filed under: FYI, music, random stuff | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Letting Go Of Perfection And Checklists
May 17 2012

It’s hard to say if letting go of perfection and checklists are related or not, unless of course you put “be your silly self even if someone looks disapprovingly your way or feels threatened by your authenticity” on your checklist. :-)

A friend posted a 2010 article on facebook recently called Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.  It’s so true.  I don’t know where we get that intense fear to be perfect and do it all correctly based on some model someone or a group of people or some stupid TV show put in our mind.  I think part of the reason reality TV shows have done so well is because those who have time to watch them inevitably feel better about themselves when they see they aren’t as screwed up as some other people out there!  You must watch the author’s video about the topic and her years of research: TEDxHouston – Brené Brown (youtube).  She delivers her message in a very authentic/real way and that’s what we are all striving to be: authentic and accepted for who we are.  I like the slide where she equates a breakdown to an awakening.  I’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt.  I hope I can help guide others through their awakening process because it’s painful.  I’ll be attempting to do a little of that this weekend by being on the support team for the Search Within program that I participated in over 2 years ago.  The founders of the program will be holding their last events this year after 15+ years of organizing them.

Another interesting read I found via Marc Andreeseen’s blog is called The CEO’s Weekly Checklist by Scott Weiss.  He says you should “Push the Team. Sell the Vision.  Arbitrate Disagreements. Manage by Walking Around.  Talk to Customers.”  It made sense to me since I’ve worn those first time CEO shoes before.  I might change the order, but other than that these are good guidelines.  In my opinion, the number one job of a top notch CEO/President is to find the right people and orchestrate them towards success.  It is much easier said than done.  You have to get your ego out of the way and not be threatened by the authenticity you see in those people.  If you hire them and don’t listen to them, then you might as well dig your early grave from a business as well as your employees personal health perspective.

 

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, environment, FYI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Founder Dating And Other Interesting Links
Apr 29 2012

I saw this hit the Bootstrap Austin list a week or so ago: Founder Dating.  If you want to start a company right now but don’t know how to find the right co-founder, then this site might be for you.  I haven’t used it so I can’t personally vouch for its efficacy, but if I did want to start a company right now (which I don’t), I’d certainly check it out.  My main start-up ventures at the moment are my two kids.  I would definitely work for a start-up/fast growing company, but my founder status is tied to my kids for a while.

Have you ever thought about forming a partnership in your business?  Then you need to read Self-Fueling Partnerships by Bob Barker in a recent Texas CEO magazine edition.  He discusses reasons why to partner and how to do it effectively.  Many partnerships go bad as we’ve seen on the front pages of too many newspapers/websites so take his advice before getting into one.

How To Be Creative in the Wall Street Journal. “The image of the ‘creative type’ is a myth. Jonah Lehrer on why anyone can innovate—and why a hot shower, a cold beer or a trip to your colleague’s desk might be the key to your next big idea.” In the article it says “Steve Jobs famously declared that “creativity is just connecting things.” Although we think of inventors as dreaming up breakthroughs out of thin air, Mr. Jobs was pointing out that even the most far-fetched concepts are usually just new combinations of stuff that already exists.Recent research confirms Mr. Jobs’s wisdom. The sociologist Martin Ruef, for instance, analyzed the social and business relationships of 766 graduates of the Stanford Business School, all of whom had gone on to start their own companies. He found that those entrepreneurs with the most diverse friendships scored three times higher on a metric of innovation. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity, they were able to translate their expansive social circle into profitable new concepts.

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, steve jobs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Random Thoughts And Printers
Apr 5 2012

For some reason today was a weird day.  It started out with me dragging myself onto the treadmill at 6:00 a.m.  Then I sorted through a bunch of email and set up some meetings.  I had a good meeting with one of my clients.  I even had a good lunch with a potential client.  Then it got mixed up in a few ways that illustrate the complexity of us humans and machines as follows:

  • I called my insurance agent to discuss car and homeowners premiums. Given I’ve had my car almost 11 years and it has over 135K miles on it, I felt like I was paying way too much.  I was right and I ended up saving hundreds of dollars per year.  I got irritated knowing that if I had called a year ago, I could have saved more money.  I hate wasting money.  So it was a bittersweet sensation.  I hope they are glad that I didn’t call Geico (darn gecko) first!
  • As I was on the phone with the agent, my Epson printer freaked out and stopped printing.   I had the printer 3 1/2 years and it decided to crash today…just as I needed to print and scan back docs to the agent.  It was cheaper to buy a new printer than figure out how to get it to San Antonio to fix it.  Needless to say, I spent a significant portion of what I was about to save on reduced insurance premiums on a new printer.
  • I called the cable company a few months ago and discovered I could spend 1/2 of what I was spending on cable & internet and still get basically the same service.
  • I wonder how much revenue these companies collect because people like me are too busy to call and figure out what the less expensive, still viable options are.  What if it was 20 or 30% of their revenue?!  That means they are relying on our laziness, busy-ness, and stupidity for a significant portion of their revenue.
  • I wonder if someone can invent an app that scans all your bills periodically and lets you know if you made this change or took advantage of this new package, you could save hundreds of dollars.
  • I stopped at Office Depot before and after a happy hour for the Austin Technology Incubator and received $50 credit for my old printer for a trade in on an HP printer that supposedly has more capacity and features.  I’ve already set it up and like the scan-to-email feature.  Thank goodness for auto setup on devices these days!
  • Grey’s Anatomy is a very good TV show.  Mad Men displays sexism and the male dominated advertising firm life in the 60’s very well, but sometimes I can’t follow their conversations easily.
  • Matters of the heart, head, and machine are not so easily resolved no matter how hard we try.  They all seem to result in the sensation of wanting to punch something or someone or cry when you can’t get them to work like they should.
  • How do 9 year old boys play 4 games of soccer in one day without falling over.  We will soon find out.
  • I’m thankful I live in the United States where I can create opportunity where none would usually exist as well as buy a new printer on short notice.  I’m also thankful that I saved for “rainy days” and live in a place that usually has less rain than other places.
  • I’m thankful for good health.

I have so many more thoughts, but most are not very useful to the general public just like half of the above aren’t either, but I hope it results in a few of you saving some money.

Author: | Filed under: austin technology incubator, FYI, product review | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Tillamook Cheese Brings Cheesy Fun To Austin
Apr 3 2012

I just thought this was cheesy fun so I’m sharing the info.  I was trying to see if I could get a group of friends together to meet up at one of the restaurants, but with all of our busy schedules and disparate locations in Austin, it’s proving to be more challenging than I thought.

tillamook® cheese makes austin melt

Local Restaurants Grill Up Tillamook-Themed Sandwiches

Celebrating the Arrival of the Tillamook Loaf Love Tour and National Grilled Cheese Month

WHO:   Tillamook, the 103-year-old, farmer-owned cooperative from Oregon with a reputation as one of the nation’s premier natural cheese makers and 6 partner restaurants in Austin, Texas.

WHAT:     To celebrate the arrival of the Loaf Love Tour, the third annual cross-country mobile sampling tour dedicated to bringing tasty cheese to the people, Tillamook has partnered with a select group of top Austin restaurants to host Tillamook Grilled Cheese Week. Kicking off during National Grilled Cheese Month on April 7th, each restaurant has created a unique grilled cheese featuring Tillamook all-natural cheese slices to honor the sandwich so beloved it has its own month.

Participating restaurants include: Noble Pig Sandwiches serving a Pimento Grilled Cheese made with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, sweet red peppers, pickled jalapeno and crispy bacon ($8), Max’s Wine Dive serving a Smoked Duck and Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Watercress ($14), Austin Daily Press featuring a Tillamook Black Forest Ham Grilled Cheese made with a blend of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Tillamook Monterey Jack cheeses served with Spicy Ranch ($6), J.Black’s Feel Good Lounge, serving an Open-Faced Grilled Cheese BAT with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar and Tillamook Monterey Jack, Niman Ranch Bacon, Local Texas Tomatoes, Arugula, and Lemon Aioli ($8), FoodHeads, grilling up three specials including a Grilled Tillamook Monterey Jack with Turkey, Jalapenos, Cracked Black Pepper, House Slaw & Honey Dijon on Nine Grain ($7.95) and Hopdoddy Burger Bar offering their version of a grilled cheese in the I Love Lucy Burger, a “Hopdoddy style Juicy Lucy” featuring Angus Beef stuffed with Tillamook Sharp Cheddar ($8).

While rolling around Austin from March 30th to April 18th, the Loaf Love Tour will visit grocery stores and special events, educating attendees about Tillamook products while sampling their all-natural cheeses made with the highest-quality milk from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones*.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 7th to Saturday, April 14th 

WHERE:                  Noble Pig Sandwiches, Max’s Wine Dive, Austin Daily Press, FoodHeads, J.Black’s Feel Good Lounge and Hopdoddy Burger Bar

 To see the tour’s full & detailed schedule of stops in Austin, please visit: LoafLoveTour.com

ABOUT TILLAMOOK:     Established in 1909, the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) pride themselves on their commitment to providing families with the most consistent, best tasting, highest quality dairy products made in the most natural way possible. The farmer-owned cooperative is famously known for its award-winning, naturally aged cheddars and is quickly becoming one of the top dairy brands in the country. Tillamook offers a variety of cheese, ice cream, butter, sour cream and yogurt products. For more information, please visit Tillamook.com 

* The FDA has stated that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST treated and non-rBST treated cows.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, guest post, random stuff | Tags: , | Comments Off