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:

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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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Life Imitating Art or Art Imitating Life
Jul 3 2011

An age old debate for sure as to whether what we see, read, and hear on TV, radio, or film influences our behavior versus our real life behavior influencing the media.  I enjoy watching movies and certain TV drama shows.  It gives one perspective on what’s potentially going on in other people’s lives.  Hopefully no one is doing all the weird things they do in soap operas, but sometimes based on the stories I hear from every day people, I’m astounded to find that some of those crazy things do go on.

Thanks to a co-worker who has tons of DVDs, I’ve now watched all but one of the Jane Austen movies, the Twilight series, Baker Boys, a bunch of other older movies, Avatar, King’s Speech, etc.  With little kids in the house it was very hard to see movies when they came out so now I have to catch up on DVD.  I think she’s going to loan me the Harry Potter series next because I’ve only seen one of those I think.  On the big screen, I’ve seen Hangover 2, Larry Crowne, Cars 2, Bridesmaids, Mr. Poppers Penguins, and probably a few other kids movies.

Watching “art” gives you insight into humanity and vice versa.  As a leader or manager, understanding the people you work with is a critical piece of helping them realize what they are capable of in the system they are working in.   Although people try to separate their work and personal lives, it rarely (in my experience) is possible.  We are human and everything is connected.  We aren’t vulcan, borg, or robots who can turn off their emotions at will or check them at the proverbial door.   We are illogical, irrational, crazy, sensitive, brilliant human beings.

Some of the best leaders I’ve seen realize how fragile we all are and take that into account when building and motivating their teams.  The not so successful, in my opinion, tend to be self absorbed and really don’t care or maybe it’s just that they don’t know how to care or show they care.  Sometimes they are so dang smart they realize their shortcomings and they hire managers/leaders who do care to compensate for their lack of ability in that area.

Happy 4th of July weekend!  Yes, I know the content of this post is not directly related to the 4th of July other than there were some great leaders who helped with the independence of our great nation…so that will have to do.

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What Does It Mean To Be A Risk Taker
Jun 26 2011

Entrepreneurs are often labeled as risk takers.  Crazy and insane.  It’s mostly true but people view risk differently.  What might look absolutely insane to one person is actually calculated risk taking.  Most businesses fail or don’t make it to the big acquisitions, so yes all entrepreneurs (especially in technology) are taking big gambles with their finances and personal lives.  In several cases both end up in disarray.  Fred Wilson wrote some great posts recently on company exits.  One is There Aren’t Many Venture Backed IPOs and the other is There Aren’t Many Exits Over $100mm.

What I have anecdotal-ly observed is that the entrepreneurs who end up most successful have first a) a lot of luck and good timing and also b) the ability to take calculated risks.  They jump but not without a parachute in their backpack or without first having calculated the odds of success and failure on each particular task.

I did something crazy today.  For the first time ever, the kids and I accidentally locked ourselves outside of the house, but fortunately the garage was still open.   Thankfully, it’s still light outside late since it’s summer.  So with the help of my neighbor’s flashlight and him watching the kids, I walked across the attic in this hot, sticky heat and made it to the inside entry.  I could have fallen through the roof or a multiple other things could have happened, but somehow I had consciously and unconsciously run through several scenarios in my mind including I knew others had been in the attic doing work in the past and no one had fallen, although the house is over 30 years old it was good construction, I was in pretty good shape, etc. so I figured it was worth the risk.  In this case everything turned out OK, and I lived to write this post.  I guess all that tree and roof climbing as a kid paid off!

Now if I can only translate that climbing & physical risk taking ability into starting or being a part of a successful multi-million dollar business… :-)

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Man Without A Mission
Jun 4 2011

What is a man or woman without a mission?  Bored? Annoyed? Anxious? Lazy? Happy? Sad? Relieved?  Ecstatic? Depressed?  It probably depends on the person.  I think most of us…especially the entrepreneurial types…need/want a mission and something to believe in.  We want a calling of sorts whether it be parenthood, religion, work, volunteering, etc.  We want to make a difference.  We want something new to fix or figure out.  What happens when for some time nothing inspires you and you wander aimlessly in search of something and/or someone to believe in?  Someone to believe in you? It’s exhausting.

Some people just give up the search and settle for the mundane or just decide they are comfortable where they are and say to themselves ‘what more could I ask for?’  I sometimes envy those people because life might be easier.  But then again it is probably harder in many ways to pretend and be someone you are not.

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Osama Bin Laden Is Dead
May 2 2011

I don’t watch the news often because most of it is depressing, and I get most of my news by reading articles online.  But last night I just happened to switch to CNN around 10:00 pm CST after seeing a recording of one of the few drama shows I watch and saw the news about Osama Bin Laden’s death.  I checked out FOX News as well…just to make sure both stations were reporting the same thing.  Lo and behold they were except for they spelled his name “Usama.”

The strange thing was that I happened to be watching TV the morning of the 9/11/01 twin towers disaster.  2001 was a BIG year of change for me personally and professionally and for some reason I was up early watching TV when all of a sudden I saw planes flying into the World Trade Center in New York.  I couldn’t believe my eyes at first and thought it must be some weird kind of movie, but it was true.  I had family and friends who lived in New York.  One of my friends was in the Merrill Lynch building just before the planes hit but fortunately, he made it out safely.

It’s been almost 10 years since that crazy day.  It took 10 long years and a lot of money to find him and kill him.  Who knows if al Qaeda will retaliate.  I hope they are as tired as we are at all the stupid killing over things that really do not matter.  I can’t imagine that God, however anyone chooses to believe in Him/Her would condone such senseless acts since we are all His/Her children.   “9/11” was before either of my children were born so when I talk to them about it they don’t really understand and I guess they never will.

I’m glad he’s gone and I hope wherever his soul goes it gets a good hard deep cleansing with extra strength bleach and a huge dose of painful reality.  That way if he comes back again to earth, he will be highly sanitized.

Now onto the next chapter of humanity…

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Something wonderful is about to happy
Apr 17 2011

No, that’s not a typo.  The fortune from the cookie from Twin Lion Chinese Restaurant said “happy” not “happen.”  For those who have followed my blog for a long time, you may recall my numerous fortune cookie posts.   My last one was based on a fortune that said Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

It’s been quite some time (3 weeks) since my last post on the Strengths Finder book, which surprisingly garnered several comments.  Time has flown between work, kids, my consulting work, homework (my kids and mine), housework, planning the summer camp schedule, birthday party planning, taxes, driving, friends, food poisoning (not from Chinese food), attempting to sleep, oh and eating!

A couple of other fortune cookie fortunes I received are “Happiness is not a reward, it’s a consequence.” and “Financial prosperity is around the corner.”

So until I have a chance to post something of more substance, may something wonderful “happy” to you!


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Random Watering and Benign Neglect
Mar 21 2011

I mentioned in my Parenting Epiphany #1 post, which surprisingly got more comments than I expected given comments on my blog have declined since my decline in posting frequency, that I would post about my plant growing epiphany.  I have house plants that are fairly old in dog years.  An 18+ year old ivy that has survived 4 moves.  A 14+ year old ficus that has survived 2 moves.  A 6 year old palm.  An almost 10 year old bamboo plant.  All are green (non-flowering) plants.  I usually accidentally kill the few flowering indoor plants I’ve received.

So here it is: I randomly water them and I benignly neglect them.  I was telling someone my theory behind plant growing success and he told me that most plants die from over watering so I guess there is some credence to my plant growing insight.  I figure in the outside world, they never know when they will get water and people/animals don’t pay much attention to them except when they are eating them.  So my busy, hectic schedule actually plays in favor for the plants.  Somehow, I always seem to know or sense when they need water but I’m one of those people who sort of believes in the connectedness of things so maybe they send their vibes out to me so my brain triggers a thought that says something like “Darn, I need to water those plant things again.”

It’s a good thing we don’t have any pets because I’m pretty sure I could not apply the same method to them. :-)  I mostly try to do the opposite with my kids.  I try not to over water (i.e., over parent) them but sometimes I do ignore them so they can figure out stuff on their own and so I can get things done.

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Google Translate
Mar 1 2011

Since I don’t have time to write a long post, I figure I’d post about a neat Google tool called Google Translate at http://translate.google.com/.  Since my kids are learning Spanish and Mandarin at their school, and I don’t really know either language, this tool is an awesome way to translate from a variety of languages to another variety of languages.  Well, I know more Spanish than I do Mandarin/Chinese.  You can type in a word and pick what language you want it translated to and not only does it give you a text translation, it also (for most languages) also gives you a verbal/audio translation.  How cool is that?

My kids were typing all sorts of things in with some as simple as “little cat” or “little dog” and listening to the translation in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, etc.  They thought it was fun and funny and so did I.

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Happy Snow Day!
Feb 4 2011

We’ve had record low temperatures and snow here in Texas.  Today pretty much the whole city, including The University of Texas at Austin (who I work for at the Austin Technology Incubator), is closed today.  I’m not a big fan of the cold, but it’s nice to look at pretty white snow on the ground one or two days per year.  My friends in Dallas have had 4 days of no school and 4+ inches of snow.  I don’t envy them.

I had already planned to take the day off for personal relaxation reasons and had a few appointments scheduled that I’m not sure I’ll make.  I’m still thinking about venturing out and braving the weather so I can do the capitalistic thing and stimulate the economy!

Stay warm!

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Slumdog Millionaire
Oct 19 2010

I was originally going to do a post about all the various issues I’ve had lately with my car, my garage door, and other stuff, but then I rented and watched Slumdog Millionaire last night.  My car stopped working last Friday but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it.  Fortunately I happened to be near the dealer and was able to drive it into the lot before it died again.  They give free rental cars so I just had to pay about $50 for the diagnostic even though I had a nice new rental car for 4 days.  My garage door stopped working Monday night even though I had just replaced the motor just a month ago and spent more money than I’d like to say to get it fixed.  I was about to lose it when they told me they would charge me for the service trip, but when he came out he discovered it was a warranty issue so I didn’t get charged.   So compared to the life of many street kids in India, I have a pretty sweet set of periodic challenges (knock on wood).

Slumdog Millionaire was a great movie and apparently the Academy thought the same because it won 8 awards in 2009.  It’s about the life of orphan street kids in India.  I’ve been to India and Sri Lanka and the poverty and abysmal living conditions of many kids is real.  Maybe I’m a little cynical these days but the happy ending seemed a bit surreal given the horrible hardships they endured.  Spoiler Alert: The main character wins 20 million rupees, he is finally reunited with the girl he fell in love with as a boy, his brother who betrayed him shoots the bad guy and gets killed in the process, etc.  However, I’m sure the visuals were even more dramatic on the big screen.  If those poor street kids in India can have a positive, entrepreneurial attitude when everything and everyone around them can’t be trusted, then who am I to complain.

One day I hope to take my kids to a true 3rd world country so they will fully appreciate the United States of America and what a nice life we have here.  I feel so blessed to be living in America.  And hopefully they will finally appreciate it when I tell them “there are poor kids in India who would love to have your food” when they say don’t like something on their plates!

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The Lusty Month of May
May 3 2010

As I was finishing catching up with some work emails and wondering what I could possibly do next that didn’t involve thinking, I started feeling a little inclined to write a post.  But I didn’t want to think much about it.  I then thought about singing and how much I have enjoyed the process of beginning to record some songs with my music teacher.  Creating recordings and music is a creative and somewhat entrepreneurial process.  It’s kind of fun to have headphones on with the karaoke music streaming in. You can sing and hear yourself singing in the headphones.  Then when I’m done, he plays it back and it’s so interesting to hear my voice with the music behind it played back to me.  It’s funny but what I think I sound like and what I actually sound like seem different to me.  I haven’t decided which voice I like better…the one in my head or the one that I hear played back to me. :-)

I’m first working on recording existing songs and then I hope to record at least one original song based on song lyrics I’ve written by the end of the year, but that is proving to be challenging with my other time commitments as well as finding the right guitar player (or keyboardist) to help make it happen.

As I was thinking about writing something, it hit me that it was already May and then the Camelot song The Lusty Month of May came to my mind.  Yes, my thought processes are strange, but I love the songs from Camelot the musical and Julie Andrews voice is just divine.  Below are the lyrics and here’s a link to a YouTube video of the section of the musical.

Camelot, the musical

Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear
It’s May, It’s May, that gorgeous holiday
When every maiden prays that her lad will be a cad
It’s mad, it’s gay, alive, a lust display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes

The Lusty Month of May
Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?
What sweet feelings does it’s scent transmute?
Whence this perfume floating everywhere?
Don’t you know, it’s that dear forbidden fruit

It’s May, the lusty month of May
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It’s time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day one you’ll always rue
It’s May, it’s May, the month of “Yes, you may”
The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im-
It’s wild, it’s gay, depraved in every way
The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past
Gaze at the human race aghast

The Lusty Month of May
Tra la, it’s May, the lusty Month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it’s here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It’s May, it’s may, the month of great dismay
when all the world is brimming with fun, wholesome or un-
It’s mad, it’s gay, alive a lust display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes
The Lusty Month of May

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