Who Has Your Back? In Life and Business…
Sep 8 2013

best-thing-worst-of-life I saw this image on facebook a couple of weeks ago and thought how appropriate the quote was for life and business.  “The best thing about the worst part of your life is that you get to see the true colours of everyone.”

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When things get really tough in life, you see who is really there for you and others.  Whether they understand why you are going through what you are going through or why you are saying/doing what you are saying, they do their best to help you out or at least not get in your way or judge you.  If they don’t care and are more interested in the trajectory of their lives, they might abandon you or look the other way.  They are likely more worried about how they look or feel or just don’t want to exert the effort it takes to care and help you through a tough spot.

I’m grateful for the gem-like people who surfaced during the hardest times of my professional and personal lives.  I know I will do the best I can to have their back, should the need arise.  What goes around comes around as they say…

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Perspective – April 2013
Apr 10 2013

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”  –Regina Brett (Thanks Jeffrey Fry for sending out that quote on Feb 23, 2013).

When things get challenging and life seems overwhelming, there is generally always someone worse off than we are.  I think being educated in the United States means you have mostly a privileged life.  We lose perspective when we think our troubles are “not fair,” we haven’t achieved what we thought we wanted to achieve, or everyone else has it better than we do.  I think a big part of the reason Reality TV has taken off is because it gives people insight into other people’s messy lives.

Success is not a straight line not just in a start-up business, but also in life.  How you define (and redefine) success also matters as it constantly evolves based on where you are in life.  Sometimes success can mean getting the kids up and out the door in the morning on time and other times it can mean closing a multi-million dollar deal!

Here are some morbid articles I recently read that gave me perspective.  Most of us can’t imagine dealing with the situations mentioned in the articles.

SKorea: NKorea may be preparing to test missile -  Associated Press

Six Americans, including three civilians, killed in attacks in Afghanistan – The Washington Post

Suicide bomber kills 20 at political rally in Iraq – Associated Press

Man kills 13 people in Serbian shooting rampage - Associated Press

I do feel really sorry for the individual who might be at the bottom of the “life sucks” totem pole, but my guess is that even they can think of someone worse off than they are because what’s important to them may not be important to someone else….

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150,000 Miles
Mar 10 2013

I wrote a post on October 19, 2009 when my car reached 100,000 miles.  I don’t know why I wrote that post, but it was a milestone for me since I’d never owned a car with that many miles on it.  Oddly, I remember a few minutes of the morning of the day I went into work after writing that post as well as what I was wearing along with a conversation I was having with the office manager at the time.  Here are a few quotes from that post updated for now:

And now here it is 8 [11.5] years, 2 kids, 3 [5] jobs, several written articles, 381 [600] blog posts [1,977 comments], and one mid-life crisis later and the car has been solid (knock on wood).”  I did just have to spend about $1,500 to fix a timing belt tensionar pulley issue and a side engine mount thingamabob a week ago…the timing (pun — or whatever — intended) wasn’t great from a cash flow perspective, but hey it’s still running!

I was too busy chatting with my [best] friend [driving to/from SXSW] at the time to notice when it hit the 100,000 [150,000] mile mark.

I wonder for how many more miles I will own this car…

Not that 99.5% of most people really care about my car or it’s mileage, but let’s just say these last 50K miles on my car have felt like a 100K miles in my life.  The amount of change that has happened in my life personally (myself and my kids) and professionally has been astounding.  And sometimes I’m surprised I’m still standing, but since the kids and I have regular check ups with friends & doctors and an active social life that keeps us driving around, I guess the life maintenance plan is working okay so far… I think I need to get an oil change.  How does one get a personal oil change? :-)

Author: | Filed under: Just For Fun, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments »

I was never insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.
Mar 4 2013

Poe-Quote“I was never insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.” – Edgar Allan Poe   Someone on facebook shared that quote recently.  Subsequently, two of my girlfriends told me that Poe was one of their favorite authors.

I saw The Raven last year and it was a dark film.  Reading about Poe’s life it sounds as if his heart must have been “touched” often.  There are more than a few entrepreneurially-minded individuals who had similar characteristics and as we see in the media there are also some famous actors and singers whose sanity has been questioned.  Your heart/passion has to be touched to take on the “insanity” of starting a business!

My guess is that most of us keep our hearts protected, otherwise there might be a lot of “insane” people running around.  Or maybe we could all do with a bit more insanity (i.e., non status-quo) in our lives…without the judgement and cowardice that often goes along with it. As Albert Einstein said, the true definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Poe doesn’t say whether the touch is one that caresses, holds, scares, confuses, or breaks his heart leaving us readers to wonder what he meant or what touched his heart the most.

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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…

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Interesting Links And Random Thoughts – August 2012
Aug 12 2012

Until I figure out a strategy for this blog, which may continue to be known for it’s non sequitur personality like it’s owner, here are a few interesting reads and observations:

The 11 Ways That Consumers Are Hopeless at Math – The Atlantic

It’s Alright To Cry – gapingvoid cube grenade

Where does trust come from?  - Seth Godin.  “Hint: it never comes from the good times and from the easy projects. We trust people because they showed up when it wasn’t convenient…

“I don’t even know what I’m afraid of” – Seth Godin.

I wonder if there is such a thing as brown/tan-gray/silver color blindness.  If so, I think I have it.

I’m so proud of my son for asking people to donate to mycharity:water, bringing clean drinking water to those without, instead of giving him birthday gifts.  He exceeded his original goal by $160 so far for a total of $360!  He never once complained or mentioned that he didn’t get any presents and was happy he could serve so many people & families.

Close friends and even co-workers can often know you and accept you better than your own family, who may only be able to see you in the box that you desperately and continuously tried to break out of most of your life but you let them keep putting you back in there until you couldn’t anymore.

 

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Around The Corner…
Jul 14 2012

Why is it when we are stressed or depressed we usually can’t envision peace and happiness around the corner, but when we are happy and things seem to be going well, we are more likely to anticipate bad things around that corner?  Not everyone thinks like that but most people are not as enlightened as Buddha professed to be and events, people, pets, and words affect us.  We doubt ourselves and our future.  The ironic thing is that if something really bad does happen it’s usually not anticipated.  So we get ourselves worked up over things that usually don’t happen because we can never really prepare for the really horrible stuff.

I saw this photo of a little Indian boy rowing in a metal bowl (not sure where I got it now since I saved it months ago) and it evoked several thoughts/emotions in me as a mother:  “That could be my son.  What a brave little boy!  Does he know where he’s going?  Where are his parents?  Was there a big flood or is this his usual morning routine? Will he be ok? Who is waiting for him on the other side.  I hope someone hugs him.  I hope someone gives him some food.“  Who knows what he’s thinking, but he apparently found a big flat oar like stick, got in this metal bowl, and decided to row to a better place.

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Summer 2012 – The Heat Is Here
Jun 13 2012

It’s already breaking 100 degrees in Texas.  Summer is here…well officially on June 21.  My kids will finish school this week.  Then, hopefully, they will go on a couple of trips and attend a bunch of summer camps including a Spanish immersion one held by their school and have a lot of outdoor fun at Doublecreek Camp.  They have been given things to work on during the summer and, of course, they are complaining that it’s not fair they have a tiny bit of summer “homework.” Little do they know that I would be fine with year round school!  If only they could grasp now how “not fair” life usually is and how “more than fair” their short lives have been when compared to the majority of kids around the world, it would save them much disillusionment later.

This summer is going to be an interesting one for many reasons that I’ll post about soon.  Lots of changes, mostly good.  But with changes in situation and temperatures, there is always an adjustment period. :-)

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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!

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Insta-Success, Connected But Alone, Finding Your Voice
Apr 12 2012

I, and many others, still can’t fully figure out how Instagram got sold for $1 billion to facebook within 17 months of being founded.  Why are some people in the right place at the right time doing the proverbial right thing to bring them that kind of lottery like winnings?  It makes my head hurt trying to rationalize it all, but congratulations to them!  May they use their new found wealth wisely.

A friend sent me a link to this Ted Talk called Connected, but alone? by Sherry Turkle.  It’s an interesting take on the dangers of us being connected virtually but not personally.  I agree with some but not all of what she says.  We are a much more distracted society and what we define as being alone and lonely have changed over time.  She says that people flock to social networks because deep down they feel like no one is listening and said “we expect more from technology than we do from each other and being alone feels like a problem that needs to be solved.”  And more profound “I share therefore I am.” And “Solitude is where you find yourself.”

Fred Wilson, A-list venture capitalist blogger, posted about Finding Your Voice and how blogging has helped him and his wife find and express their voices.  Social media has helped him and others find their place in the Internet world.  Arguably, there are some out there who many of us would be fine not reading or hearing about, but for many of us who struggled to express ourselves growing up, it’s a great medium to share and discover we are not alone in the way we think, feel, and process information.

Author: | Filed under: blogging, entrepreneurship, random stuff, social media, social networks | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dilbert On Happiness
Apr 6 2012

I get my daily Dilbert fix by email and today’s Dilbert made me laugh because it’s so true of us humans.  We judge our happiness by comparing where we are in life to others.  We really have no way of telling whether that guy or gal with a big house, great job, fancy car, seemingly perfect kids and marriage, and all the fun money can buy is truly happy.  We’ve seen celebrities, who appear to have it all, implode.  We’ve seen people who have very little material possessions seemingly possess inner peace and calmness (without using illegal substances!).

Happy Good Friday.  No matter what your religious beliefs are, the fact that so many humans on this planet celebrate the death and life of a man who lived two thousand years ago means something.  None of us alive knew the physical manifestation of Jesus, but the impact he has had on generations is undeniable.

May you find your happiness without having to see pictures of people attacked by bears.

 

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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.

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The Telephone Game
Aug 28 2011

Do you remember playing the telephone game (according to Wikipedia it’s called Chinese Whispers – the Chinese are taking over everything…or maybe they started everything) as a kid?  It’s surprising how that game continues to be played, even if unintentionally, in business and groups when we are adults.  We do it without even thinking.  He said, she said, I heard it through the grapevine, and the next thing you know the person who supposedly said something in the first place gets completely surprised at how something they said is interpreted or that no one tells them anything about what’s going on because they are too busy talking behind their back.  People seem to be afraid to go ask the implied source if it’s true for fear they might be misunderstood, be faced with retribution, questioned, laughed at or maybe they don’t want to lose the fun (the high) of saying things behind someone’s back.  Gossip is addictive!  I know I love good gossip.  It’s a great way to bond with like minded people.

The game is fun for pre-schoolers and elementary kids, damaging to the hearts of teenagers, yet can be detrimental in business.  Acting on inaccurate information can cause all sorts of trouble.  If a company doesn’t minimize the negative gossip and promote the good gossip, they might not know what hit ‘em when the competition, who has great internal communication, knocks them on their proverbial behind.  Just go watch a few episodes of The Office and read Dilbert (my favorite comic of all time) and you’ll see what I mean.  Below is today’s Dilbert on giving honest feedback to your boss/co-worker:
Dilbert.com

Author: | Filed under: competition, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Journey Of A Thousand Miles…
Aug 14 2011

Begins With A Single Step.  This quote brought to you by Lao-Tzu, famous Chinese philosopher.  I’m starting a new journey this week.  Here are some other interesting quotes by him and you can see even more here: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/lao_tzu.html

“I have three treasures. Guard and keep them:
The first is deep love,
The second is frugality,
And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world.
Because of deep love, one is courageous.
Because of frugality, one is generous.
Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.”

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

How many journeys have you started?  I’ve lost count of how many I’ve started.  Some led to interesting discoveries and some led to dead ends, but as they say it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.  However, I’m still hoping that there’s a small pot of gold at the end of this one though…

Author: | Filed under: Just For Fun, random stuff, working mom, working mother | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates
Aug 7 2011

Hot Chocolate

OK, so we’ve all (well most of us) have watched Forest Gump and can appreciate the title of this post: Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates.  Although we know we will often bite into a chocolate with something we don’t like inside, we still seem to be taken by surprise if we don’t get what we expected.  Thank goodness for chocolate maps/legends in real boxes of chocolates!  I got some Lindt dark chocolate with orange flavor yesterday and was disappointed to discover it had almond slivers in it when I bit into it after dinner.  My kids didn’t care for it either.  I like nuts and I like chocolate but just not together.  I recall Cadbury used to make a chocolate with orange flavor without nuts (or maybe I blocked the nuts from my memory) that I used to enjoy but I could only find it in England or Sri Lanka.  I’ll tolerate a Snickers bar occasionally and I do like Reesus peanut butter cups, but I don’t like peanuts mixed with my chocolate.

I’ve lived an interesting life and sometimes I’ve had to tolerate the nuts in the chocolate of life.  In the past, the flavor of those “nuts” has annoyed me so much that I had a hard time enjoying the chocolate.  I’ve been known to spit out actual chocolate or brownies with nuts.  I think with age and possibly loss of brain cells and taste buds, I’ve come to better appreciate the chocolate flavor in between the nuts and have done a better job of picking chocolates with fewer nuts inside.  In real life, it’s virtually impossible to avoid nuts all together.  However, in the grocery store it’s easier to find chocolate without nuts if you are paying attention and don’t have young kids demanding your attention such that you don’t have the time to read the fine print!

I have recently made a choice to pick a new chocolate from the box of life and it looks pretty and oh so delicious.  I’m a realist so I know that when I bite into that gorgeous looking chocolate that I might happen upon some nuts.  I’m anticipating a lot of gooey, yummy caramel inside and when I bite on the inevitable nuts, hopefully they will be tolerable, I can spit them out without anyone noticing, or simply avoid them… :-)

Biting into this chocolate can quite possibly allow me to help change the world….

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