Happy Mother’s Day 2013
May 12 2013

mothers-day-rosesAnother year has passed and another Mother’s Day is almost over.  Apparently my Happy Mother’s Day 2012 – Keep Up The Good Work post had several hundred views the last few days via google searches.  I still find that “greeting” card I took a picture of and put in that post humorous in an ironic kind of way…not even sure that makes sense or not.

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This Mother’s Day, we find ourselves living in an extended stay hotel for a couple of weeks while we wait for our new home to be ready.  We’ve already had several friends over to eat and swim with us. Our new home was supposed to be ready in January, and we are crossing our fingers & toes that we will be able to move in soon.  So many amazing things have happened on this journey and invariably they involved wonderful people with big hearts who have gone the extra mile to make this transition as smooth as possible given the other unexpected changes in my life.  I really can’t thank some of these people enough.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be a grandmother with some of the best First World war stories ever!  :-)

So today for Mother’s Day, my son played soccer, the kids did their homework, they took me to Firebowl for lunch where mom’s ate free, we saw The Croods, they went swimming in the heated & nicely shaded hotel pool, they took me to Macaroni Grill for dinner (using gift cards the buyer’s of our house gave us), and they listened to me 90% of the time without me having to repeat myself multiple times.  All in all I’d say it was a very good day with the only downer being me having a cold.

I told the kids that I would share the fortunes (or statements) from the fortune cookies we chose at Firebowl in this post, so Happy Mother’s Day and here they are :

  • Embrace change, don’t battle it.
  • Don’t be so critical and overly concerned about details.
  • Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens.
  • Drastic means are not as necessary as you think.
  • Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.
  • Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent.
  • Help people reach their full potential.

 

Author: | Filed under: mom, mother, mother's day, mother's day, movie reviews, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Much Ado About Women
Feb 27 2013

teach-to-fish-400x478There have been some interesting articles floating around about women and our roles in business and leadership lately.  I’ve posted a few on facebook and wanted to share here:

Richard Branson on Why We Need More Women in the Boardroom (a.k.a. 12 Angry Men) – Entrepreneur

Sheryl Sandberg’s Radically Realistic ‘And’ Solution for Working Mothers - The Atlantic

Are our colleges equipping women to be leaders? - Washington Post

Why I Was Never a “Feminist” – Stealthmode

Why Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s work from home ban is the wrong approach – The American CEO

4 Reasons Marissa Mayer’s No-At-Home-Work Policy Is an Epic Fail - Forbes

Yahoo Orders Home Workers Back to the Office – New York Times

The Most Powerful Women in Tech – 2012 – Forbes

There are have been many advancements to support women in the workplace and yet women still don’t have equal representation in many areas of senior leadership.  For the first time ever, women are earning more college degrees than men.  Yet at the senior level of most organizations, women are not very visible (i.e., “heard”) and sometimes their actions are deeply scrutinized by both men and women.  It seems to be the ongoing price of progress, and I’m glad I’m living in the year 2013 versus 50 to 100 years ago.  I think women have clearly demonstrated their value in the market place…now if they could earn equal pay for equal work across all job functions, that would be another step in the right direction…

To those men and women who take the time to teach women and young girls how to be leaders and provide them support as well as access to your networks to help them grow and learn from their failures & mistakes, thank you for your foresight, interest, and encouragement!  “Give a man/woman a fish, he/she eats for a day. Teach them how to fish, they can eat for a lifetime.”

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, FYI, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Imagine That. It’s 2013!
Jan 6 2013

Happy New Year!   From what I’ve observed at this point in my life, it seems to me that there really is no telling what awaits around the corner with regards to jobs, kids, health, love, or whatever, so I’ve given up on resolutions for the time being.  We are living in interesting times, and I have been fortunate/unfortunate enough to experience many things…some of my choosing and most not of my choosing.  Maybe I will live long enough and happen upon the right muse(s) along the way to enable me to write more about it…

So in 2013 I’ll just do my best to breathe deep, laugh with my kids, and spend time with people who support/love me & my kids (i.e., no fair weather friends or family).  I’ll continue to do my best at whatever I’m attempting to do and support others even if I find myself in less than ideal circumstances or around negative people, which seems to be happening less and less.  I also will continue to come to grips with the reality of my busy life (e.g., it took me close to 5 days to actually finish writing this short post because of work, facebook, watching TV, words with friends, going to the movies, spending time with real offline friends, downtime, and kid stuff!). :-)

May you experience the most peace, love, and joy possible in 2013!

Author: | Filed under: blogging, holiday, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

BiG HealthCARE Opportunities Summit
Sep 28 2012

BiGAUSTIN is excited to begin the Small Business @ Work series with our first event, BiG HealthCARE Opportunities Summit on November 1st, 2012. BiG is teaming up with The Seton Healthcare Family to educate and inform women and veterans about the advancements, changes and opportunities within the healthcare industry through panel discussions, breakout sessions, and workshops.

Participants will be able to gather information on HealthCARE and have the opportunity to network and learn about available self-employment as a CAREER within the healthcare community, have ACCESS to healthcare providers, be able to attend economic RECOVERY breakout sessions for personal needs, and learn what every ENTREPRENEUR should know about the new policies, healthcare acts and how these initiatives will affect their day to day business.

The BiG HealthCARE Opportunities Summit’s keynote speaker, author and small business person of the year 2007: Ms. Colleen J. Payne-Nabors, will share her experience and struggle as she built a multi-million dollar business in the mobile cardiac imaging business

For more Information go to: http://bigaustin.org/healthcareopportunitiessummit or email them at info@bigaustin.org

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Perspective 2012
Mar 20 2012

When I wonder what it’s all about, why I am where I am, and whether all my decisions or in/out-of-control direction changes in life were good ones, I usually need to drink lots of red wine and stay away from the hard liquor!  When my 6, soon to be 7, year old daughter tells me to take a break from cooking dinner and see what she made  and affixed to my home office desk (photo to left), everything makes sense for a few moments.

I tell her that I need to save all these precious notes and drawings she makes me because when she’s a teenager she’ll want nothing to do with me.  She denies it adamantly and tells me she will always love me.  I tell her I know that’s true but she might not express it the same way as she does now, but I will always love her which thankfully she believes. I doubt she’ll be writing me the same heart warming notes and drawing me butterflies when she’s 16, but the fact that she thinks she will is sweet.  Although I’m sure her peers and society might think it weird if she’s drawing hearts to her friends and mom when she’s older, I hope she continues to be comfortable expressing her love for people because it’s not an easy thing to do without judgement when you get older.

I don’t recall my now 9 year old son writing too many “I love mommy” notes when he was 6, but I do have a few of those that I’ve saved and stuck to the fridge or put in his box.  He mostly wants to play with my iPhone and the Wii runs into me to show his affection and randomly hugs me sometimes in odd places like Office Depot.  He still likes me to sit next to him when he’s watching TV and cuddle with him for a bit before he goes to sleep.  When I ask him why he is hugging me in a superstore, he says “I don’t know, I just wanted to.”  I sigh, laugh, roll my eyes a bit and say “Ok sweetie, I’ll take it when and where I can get it,” hug him back and muss his hair.

I’m so lucky when it comes to my kids (knock on wood) and I guess I am where I need to be right now for them.  If I’m penniless in my 80s, I’ll show them the notes and see if they remember writing them and the feelings they were trying to express at the time.  Deep stuff, I know.

Author: | Filed under: parent stories, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments »

Motherhood Is The Necessity of Re-Invention
Jan 15 2012

Other ways to say this that might make more sense to a brain that doesn’t have little kids around the house:

  • Necessity is the Mothership of Re-invention
  • Necessity is the mother of invention – most popular
  • Motherhood/Parenthood/Fatherhood necessitates constant reinvention
  • Working Motherhood/Parenthood/Fatherhood requires you to try touching your elbow to your ear (yes, I tried it to make sure it was near impossible to do so) on more occasions than you’d like to admit

I hope in all this living around parents with an accidental (prone to earthquakes) entrepreneurial foundation, my kids are learning that they have to whine a little, adapt a lot, smile, try a bunch of different things, have faith that things will turn out as they should as long as they work hard and are kind to others…including animals and a select few insects like butterflies.

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Knowing What You Want
Dec 11 2011

Grand Canal - China

Knowing what you want is a blessing and a curse.  If you know what you want, then you know the usual paths of achieving it.  You can improvise along the way, but if you know you want to be a singer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, pro football player, screen writer, monk/nun, landscaper, etc. you follow a prescribed path for the most part.  It’s a curse because a) someone can decide you aren’t good enough, b) you actually aren’t good enough, c) you weren’t born into knowing the right people, or d) you always seem to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Most people do not become world famous singers, athletes, novelists, or movie directors.

Not knowing what you want is also a curse and a blessing because you can drift aimlessly wondering where you belong and in what you might be phenomenal.  You can be strong at many things but unless you know that you want to be an entrepreneur, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Martha Stewart, Dilbert, a world class surgeon, a lawyer, etc., what you end up doing probably won’t feel like a custom made glove.  The blessing part of not knowing what you want to be when you grow up is that you never had a burning desire to be  Lady Ga Ga, so you aren’t as disappointed when you roll out of bed and you aren’t her.  The blessing is also that you can decide to like what you are doing and find ways to make a difference and change the world in your own little non Lady Ga Ga like fashion and still have people think you are pretty cool.

My son says he wants to be a soccer player and my daughter says (only recently) that she wants to be a singer.  I’ll see if I can steer them towards being a soccer playing physicist and a singing doctor.  I wonder how that will work.  Despite our best voluntary & involuntary attempts at showing them the life of an entrepreneur is not laced with candy, they might be crazy like us and commit entrepreneur-icide.

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Thankful – 2011
Nov 27 2011

Dragon in China

The Thanksgiving holiday just passed here in the US.  It’s a time where we reflect on all that we are thankful for and, of course, eat turkey.  I was thankful I was able to spend it with family (new and old).   We had turkey and lobster which was a very nice combination.

I’m thankful for so many things and I, like others, lose sight of how lucky we are to live in the time we live, have the things we have, are for the most part healthy, etc.  I think I need to record the things I’m thankful for and play them back to myself every day, because like so many I get caught up in the day to day stresses of life and forget to be grateful for what I do have.

Thank you to all my loyal readers who have stuck around despite my inconsistent blogging and my often random topics.  I am in the morass of a full life right now.  I am still trying to find my way while at the same time helping two little kids find their ways… :-)

Author: | Filed under: holiday, working mom, working mother | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Roller Coaster Of Life
Sep 20 2011

I used to like roller coaster rides when I was young and then some time in my teenage years, they started to make me nauseous and I didn’t like them.  Many of my friends have told me that they experience more motion sickness in rides now than they used to.  This may be part of the reason I’ve never taken my kids to Disney Land or I never went as a kid.  I know, I’m un-American and deprived.

Well business people, entrepreneurs, and parents all experience ups and downs.  The best we can do is count our blessings during the down times and make sure we don’t forget how blessed we are in the up times.

My life, personal and professional, is novel worthy.  I just hope I’m not too sea sick when I actually have time to write that novel…

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The Robi Comb – Amazed And Stunned
Sep 15 2011

I get many people asking me to blog about their products.  Some even offer to pay me.  Most of the requests I ignore as I don’t feel the products are relevant or I don’t have much to say about them.  But when the PR guy for the Robi Comb reached out to me, it piqued my interest.  My kids got head lice for the first time last Spring and it was icky, tiring and awful.  It seems like more than half the kids in the school got them.  We did environmentally friendly, non-toxic treatments that took 4 hours and they had to sit around in caps until late into the night (i.e. past their bed times and past mom’s patience).  Then my son got them again in summer camp.  I was less mortified but still very annoyed.  I remember getting them as a kid when I went to visit Sri Lanka and the stuff they put on our heads was kind of like kerosine.  This is America, not a third world country, so as any American full time working mother would do, I freaked.  The non-toxic treatment stuff they have these days smells like a caramel frappacino.  I was tempted to make my kids smell something nasty so they could experience the same need to run around outside without stopping until the treatment was done, but I let them enjoy the smell of eucalyptus spray and coffee smelling gunk.

They sent me the following write-up (in italics below) and a free Robi Comb.  I was hoping that I’d never have to use it as certainly my kids were done with that craziness, but lo and behold, it happened again recently.  After asking my son who the heck he was hanging out with (because my daughter escaped them) and they take a bath every day, I used the Robi Comb on him.  It had been sitting on the counter for several weeks and they were curious about it. My son said his head was itchy and I figure he just wanted to use the comb so he was making it up.  I told him that he simply could not have head lice again.  My daughter and I looked in his hair fairly thoroughly with a flashlight and saw pretty much nothing.  Even the things we thought could be nits weren’t.  He has brown hair so it’s easy to see nits and I figured I’d see any stupid lice crawling around.  At his head scratching insistence, I used the comb and I was shocked to discover it found 7 lice.  I swear I saw nothing and everything in my being did not want to believe him when he said he thought he had lice. I guess it was a good thing I listen to my kids most of the time because after running it through his hair several times and changing the sheets, he can go to school without a 4 hour treatment followed up by multiple combings and daily hair spray-ings because 7 lice do not constitute an infestation.  But I decided to use the Robi Comb for a few days just in case and no more were found.  I still sprayed his head with eucalyptus spray and made him use lice shampoo to repel them.  I was impressed with how easy it was to use and how quickly it found them!

As back to school time approaches, so does the head lice boom. Lice, the ultimate creepy crawler, will find its way onto millions of children’s heads this fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year among children 3 to 11 years of age. However, with the recent increase in head lice breakouts this past year, it’s imperative that all parents be prepared to tackle this common nuisance. This increase has even prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to amend their “No Nits” policy regarding withholding children from public schools who might still have nits, otherwise known as head lice eggs, present on their scalp. The amended policy says that children with nits do not necessarily pose a risk to the rest of the schools population.

This amended policy has many parents nationwide scratching their head, as they do not want to put their children in any “unnecessary” risk by sending them to schools recently affected by an infestation. As evident by this policy’s amendment, head lice is not so much of a health or hygiene issue; however the way these pests are commonly treated is of greater concern. In the past, the only way to effectively treat head lice was with dangerous toxic shampoos, chemicals, gels or oils; many of which use Pyrethrum or Permethrin, the same pesticides found in household bug killers. Today more than ever, there is a growing concern of the health effects of putting toxins and chemicals such as these on a developing child’s head and the negative long term effects these poisons may have. Aside from being toxic, many of these “traditional” treatments have also been widely reported to not even work, as the lice, in most cases, have built up a resistance to the pesticides used rendering them essentially useless.

In the event your child brings home more than just homework this school year, the Robi Comb from LiceGuard is an ideal product for ridding their scalp of lice without the use of harmful chemicals. The Robi Comb is a non-invasive electronic lice comb powered by a single AA battery that detects and destroys lice on contact simply by combing it through dry hair. When the Robi Comb’s metal teeth touch lice, the lice get zapped, die and then get combed away. Unlike chemical treatments, the Robi Comb can be used as often as you like and can be used repeatedly by the entire family. The Robi Comb lets you know by an audible signal whether or not head lice are present, so it can be used to detect an infestation as well as treat it. In fact, many school nurses are now using the Robi Comb for exactly that reason. School nurses report that Robi Comb is able to find lice which they have missed when checking visually. More than 3,000 school districts in all 50 states are now currently using the Robi Comb. This innovative product is available for purchase for $29.99 at major retailers such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid, as well as thousands of local pharmacies across the nation.

Author: | Filed under: FYI, parent stories, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

How Dooce Changed My Twitter Reputation
Apr 8 2009

dooce-8apr09I went to Heather Armstrong’s (a.k.a. Dooce) book signing for It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margaritatonight only because one of the interns, Laura Benold, at my day job happened to tell me about it.  She’s been following Dooce since she was 18 years old.  She’s not much older now, but still.

Yes, I was feeling kind of pathetic since I’m sort of a mommy blogger and Dooce is the top mommy blogger on the planet making reportedly up to $500K per year from her blog.   I am grateful that Laura took an interest in what I was trying to do with Babble Soft and asked me if I knew about it.  And my lame excuse is I’m doing way too much, have two kids, thankfully no pets, and I haven’t found a way to get her blog to come to me in email form like the other blogs I read.  Believe me I have tried several times to figure out how to get her blog in email…I’m going to blame it on the proverbial ‘mommy brain syndrome.’

I almost didn’t make it because our son has been home sick the last couple of days.  I was thinking about taking him and our daughter with me and I am SO glad I didn’t.   Fortunately their dad was able to rearrange his schedule to watch them.  It would not have been fun at all because they would have lost their patience and my son would have been worn out in say 20 minutes.

Heather is an awesome and hilarious writer!  She curses profusely, swears, and talks about all the things people don’t talk about but should on the topic of motherhood and life.  So I began tweeting about some of the things she was saying and reading from her book and here are some of the more colorful tweets (corrected for iPhone typing errors):

@dooce about to talk about sex after vaginal birth.

Took 7 months after baby born before they had sex. 6 weeks is bs. Says @dooce

Her vagina was ready after she wore a tampax and her husband wrote a thank you letter to them.

Then @dooce says she got a urinary tract infection.

@dooce now talking about her dog called Satan and when they took the dog coco hunting.

All of a sudden I started getting tweets and direct messages on twitter asking what was going on with me.  A few people thought my account was hacked since the tweets were very out of character for me.  I was sure I had lost some followers, but I think I actually gained a few.

I’m so glad I went!  I met her husband Jon (@blurb on twitter) and chatting with him for a while.  He is on tour with her and manages the back end of her website.  He was so cute and funny about how he took pictures of her and then sat in the audience listening to what I assume has to be the umpteenth time she’s spoken at a book signing on this tour.  He participated a bit in the Q&A portion and then stood off to the side while she signed books.  I checked his twitter stream when I got back and saw that his two tweets were:

@dooce is lookin fine. Damn fine.

@dooce kicking ass! http://twitpic.com/30ynn

I went to chat with him for a while and gave him some gift subscriptions to Babble Soft web and mobile software (which is iPhone ready – I noticed Heather was reading something to the audience from her pink cased iPhone), and he seemed genuinely interested in checking it out.  I gave him extra ones to give to any of their friends or readers if they wanted to.

I was in the 3rd group of people to get the book signed and somewhere around 8:30 p.m., I knew I was not going to make it to 9:30 after having been most of the day with a sick kid, and I started to leave.  I was almost out the door when I said to myself, I don’t really want to leave without a signature at all do I?  So I went back up the stairs and asked Jon if he would sign it since I had to go, and he graciously did!

So I’m wondering how many people have a copy of It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margaritasigned by Dooce’s husband!  That’s got to be extremely valuable. :-)

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, working mom, working mother | Tags: , | 9 Comments »

All About Business
Mar 5 2009

I have many blog post ideas swimming in my head and jotted down in my little spiral notebook.  Finding the time to get the thoughts out of my jam packed brain into a blog post is hard to do, but some people tell me they are impressed with how much I do post.  I would post every day if I could, but I can’t physically or mentally do it because my life is currently all about business.  The business of work, the business of family, the business of motherhood, the business of writing, the business of management, the business of people, the business of figuring myself out, etc., etc., etc.  It is all busy-ness but I’m fortunate enough to be able to enjoy it when I’m not distracted by it all (which is often).  I’m not sure I would know what to do with myself if I didn’t have something to do.  I’m not sure I would know how to retire, but I wouldn’t mind a week long beach vacation right now!

I get frustrated sometimes that I can’t do all the things I want to do.  I get frustrated that I’m not even really sure what I want (other than a beach vacation).  I feel constrained by mostly my own self-imposed limitations and societal expectations, but I know I’m not the first one on this planet to experience all of this, but I like to naively believe that my experience is unique.

So, it’s all about business, but is it really?  Sometimes it’s just about squeezing and kissing my adorable kids who laugh and flash their heart melting smiles at me or drinking a glass of really good red wine or a newly discovered ginger martini…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, working mom, working mother | 2 Comments »

Resolutions Anyone?
Jan 4 2009

Photo by Sandy Blanchardwhitetulip-sandybphotos

Last year I made New Year resolutions despite not normally liking to do so.  I even did a blog post called One Entrepreneur’s 2008 Goals.  And guess what? Some of them came true and some of them didn’t.  This year I’m not making any resolutions.  I’m going to try to go more with the flow.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have things I’d like to accomplish but I’m not going to make them goals.

Interestingly, I achieved all of my 2008 personal goals.  I lost 5 lbs (actually I lost more like 8).  I signed up for and took yoga as consistently as is possible with two kids and two jobs.  The yoga helped me lose 5 lbs, the other 3 I lost due to stress and an ongoing existential crisis.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t eat much and fidgets a lot when I get stressed.  I know some people hate me for it, but let me tell you the elevated crazy brain activity more than overrides the weight loss benefit.   I mean I don’t get as bad as seeing dead people, but I start saying and doing things that don’t make sense (at least to me), and I start making wild interpretations of other people’s actions (and non-actions) and words that probably don’t make sense but might and if they actually meant what I thought they meant, my world would be turned upside down.  Yeah, don’t even try to understand that last sentence.

I even laughed more and that’s because my son is a budding comedian, and I work with some funny people at my day job.  The only personal goal that I can’t say with 100% certainty I made significant progress in was “be less concerned with what other people think.”  I made some progress, but the trauma of “what will they think of me if I wear a purple peacock hat to a lunch meeting?” still plagues me.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve cared less but I’m waiting for that day I can walk into a room and say whatever is on my mind (well not whatever because it would shock the innocent) and not give a flying flip if people think I’m nuts, a crazy entrepreneur, or a hysterical brown woman because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I’m saying is actually wise, intelligible, actionable, and worthy to be said.

I really only knocked out of the park one of my Babble Soft business goals and that was to “find great people to help make it happen.”  And that happened when Nicole Johnson joined me as VP of Product Development back in October.  We are slowly but surely making things happen and it’s so amazing to have someone as great as she is along for the ride.  We don’t know how it will all turn out yet given what’s going on in the world, but I feel honored to be working with such a talented, personable individual, who can fully relate to my life situation of a day job and two little kids!

The other business goals were thwarted by: the economy, my husband leaving his job to consult and start an amazing dual language immersion school called The Magellan School (i.e., hence the day job – health care benefits are very important when you have kids), having to unexpectedly pay a significant portion of my father-in-law’s triple bypass surgery expenses (yes, he was not insured), my mid-life crisis, and a random butterfly flapping its wings in China.

But you know what? Despite not making most of my business goals, life is great.  All my close family and friends are healthy.  My kids laugh and smile every day which makes me happy.  I enjoy my day job because although I’m underpaid (working on changing that slightly), it’s probably the best place I can be to help build the Austin entrepreneurial community and ride out this economic downturn.  Plus, I really like the people I work with.  I’m a huge believer in fostering an amazing work culture and a positive work environment, and we currently have that at the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) and I have that with Nicole at Babble Soft.  So yes, overall my life is pretty darned good.

So my non-resolutions for 2009 are to sing more, laugh more, write more, make more funny faces at my kids, be less repressed, empower people, unashamedly love people, continue to take yoga, find a purple hat (any suggestions?), make some life changing decisions (I already got my hair cut short), and move the ball forward one day at a time on Babble Soft and at ATI.

So no resolutions for me, but I do like to get shit done and I’m hoping our brand new President of the United States feels the same, and I think he does! 

Oh, did I mention I plan to curse more too!  For most of my adult and teenage life many of my friends (most of them guys) have tried to get me to curse more and I saw no need for it.  Their jaws would drop on the rare instances I would curse, so I’ll see if I can work in more curse words into my daily (or weekly) discourse (mostly off the blog because I have a hard time writing curse words).  It might be awkward at first, but I’ll suck it up and overcome the awkwardness just like Dooce and The Bloggess have been able to.  They are some of the top cursing mommy bloggers on the Internet today and I cry laughing (or is that laugh crying?) whenever I read their posts.   I mean go read: This is one of those posts about how you can make money off your blog but instead of money you get a coupon for a burrito and tell me you don’t start laughing your ass off.  I’ll just have to remember not to curse in front of the kids…  Sorry mom!

How’s that for some non-Resolutions?!!

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, fundraising, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , | 10 Comments »

Are Your Children’s Identities Safe?
Nov 16 2008

The following is a guest post by a friend and fellow entrepreneur Julie Fergerson.  We met several years ago while each of us was in the middle of our very own first high tech start-up.  Julie is currently a VP at Debix.  Debix provides services to help you monitor your credit.  My husband and I signed up a while ago, and we recently signed up our kids.  We were at her daughter’s 5 year old birthday party that she mentions below.  We just got the results back for our kids who were part of a batch of 83 kids that were evaluated.  Thank goodness our kids are safe but 3 of those kids had compromised credit.  Check out Julie’s post below to learn more about how to protect your children’s identities.

Are Your Children’s Identities Safe?

Hi, my name is Julie and I am a mother of two little kids, age 2 and 5.  I am also an executive at Debix, the Identity Protection Network, and have been chasing criminals and stopping fraud over the past decade.  Recently, I helped design a new product to protect children’s identities.  As usual with any new product launch (July 28th, 2008), I asked my friends at my daughter’s fifth birthday party to enroll and give me feedback on what they thought. 

I was stunned to find that two of the fourteen children at the party (age 4 and age 9) had someone else using their identities.  This hit so close to home that I decided to research the size of the problem.

So we scanned 500 children who were under the age of 18, and found that 1 in 20 kids (5%) already have someone else using their social security number.  To put that in perspective, that means about one kid in every classroom in the US is a victim of identity theft.  Worse yet, the average child victim had over $12,000 in debt and 12% of the child victims are age 5 and younger – shocking!

To ensure the results were accurate we hired Javelin Strategy and Research, a top-tier analyst firm to analyze the results and report their conclusions.   You can download the research report here: www.debix.com/research.

You can hear stories from the parents about their children being victims at (http://news.debix.com/index.php/categories/child-victims/).

As I talk about this problem with other Moms, the first question is always, “what does it mean that their kid is a victim of identity theft?”  It means the child will not be able to use his credit when he needs it for things as important as college loans, first apartments or even a first job.  As part of my research I met Lindsey, a college student at Texas State, who is living this problem.  When she applied for her first internship competing against 400 other candidates, she was thrilled when she got the job and received the company welcome gift.  Unfortunately a few weeks later, she received a letter rescinding her job offer – she was told she was not hirable because someone else was using her social security number.  After what she calls “a full time job” of working to clear her name for six months, she was able to restore her identity and get the job.  

The next question I get is “how can this happen?  Surely companies know the social security number belongs to a kid.”  The answer is no.  There is no system in place to warn companies and the Social Security Administration does not publish a database of social security numbers with names and ages of kids.  The social security administration has a formula for issuing a social security number, but you can’t tell the difference between a number that was issued to a 39 year old immigrant to the US and a newborn.  About all you can tell from the number is the year and location it was issued (check out SSA Algorithm for issuing SSNs.)

It is our job as parents to protect our children and give them every possible advantage when they become an adult.  We have to protect our kids as best we can so when they start out they have a clean record and aren’t starting adult life at a disadvantage.

The solution I built at Debix finds the problems and restores the child’s identity for $20 per year.  While we try to keep our pricing affordable, we also took the time to publish the steps a parent would need to do if they wanted to protect their kids on their own at www.childrenscreditcrisis.org

I also worked with the FBI to produce a webcast to teach parents how to protect their kids from Identity Theft.  Feel free to pass this information along.

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Do you have any stories to share about identity theft either from personal experience or a friend’s?

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneur, FYI, guest post, parenting, working mom, working mother | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments »