Tracy Thrower Conyers is a long-time resident of Westchester 90045. Tracy closely follows local politics, political players and social chatter relevant to Westchester. You’ll frequently find her at Neighborhood Council meetings, as well as on all the social platforms where 90045 peeps hang out. Tracy loves a good conversation about our community, so don't be shy about leaving comments. 😊
My family and I have lived in Westchester for almost 12 years. I still remember when our realtor suggested we consider the neighborhood. Despite years of business travel and taking taxis between the Marina and LAX, I had no idea the neighborhood even existed, hidden as it was behind all those big, beautiful mature trees along Sepulveda Boulevard.
At first, we were reluctant to look at anything so “far” south. I’d always worked in Westwood and Century City, and my idea of “south” was Mar Vista. Comparing Mar Vista to Westchester, we quickly learned that the houses and lots are considerably larger for the same money, so Westchester it was.
We found ourselves a beautiful little updated bungalow in South Kentwood that we had all of 20 minutes to consider before writing our offer in the real estate frenzy of 2002.
It was a crazy time. Our closing kept getting pushed out and the NICU release date of uber-preemie baby kept creeping up (we definitely had no complaints on the latter event). We finally got our keys with one week to outfit the house before our very tiny bundle of joy came home.
It’s become the new buzz phrase in education: “Got grit?”
Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students’ success — and just as important to teach as reading and math.
Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.
“This quality of being able to sustain your passions, and also work really hard at them, over really disappointingly long periods of time, that’s grit,” says Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who coined the term “grit” — and won a MacArthur “genius grant” for it.
“It’s a very, I think, American idea in some ways — really pursuing something against all odds,” she says.
Duckworth says her research shows grit is actually a better predictor of success than IQ or other measures when it comes to achievements as varied as graduating from West Point or winning the National Spelling Bee.
Even the Obama administration is now on the “grit” bandwagon. A 2013 report from the Department of Education laments that kids are learning to “do school,” but aren’t learning the skills they need in life.
But can grit be taught?
I vote yes! Find out what the author thinks on www.npr.org.
“Imagine you’re sitting across from a reporter at lunch. You’re telling them what you do, your story, why they should care about your product. You have to convince this reporter to not only write about you, but that what you’re doing matters. That you’re going to be successful.”
I have loved being at home and focusing on my daughter as she has made her way to her pre-teen years, but it’s time for a change! I am super excited to announce that I have started a new professional chapter by joining Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage as a Realtor & Residential Income Investment Consultant. If you’re wondering why real estate makes sense for me at this juncture, I’ve written about it here.
I think my life has been pretty cool over the last 14 years, but I daresay most people would probably agree that “chaos” is not a gross exaggeration for describing that period of my life.
As I detailed in a previous post, 14 years ago I suddenly found myself in a whirlwind romance that happened to coincide with a career change, all leading to over a decade of craziness.
Flash forward to today and my little 2 lb. 5 oz baby started middle school this year. We also have a year and a half under our belts at a small charter school in Hawthorne. My daughter is relatively happy and things are settling down.
And did I mention that we have a crazy upward real estate cycle underway? And have I mentioned lately how much I dig real estate?
Fourteen years ago I was a single girl working my ass off as an attorney in LA when I was contacted out of the blue by a guy I knew from high school.
Ten years before, we’d had one of those crazy flings at a high school reunion that you might read about in one of those um, mommy novels. We saw each other a couple of times after the big weekend, but we lived 2000 miles apart and were both starting professional careers. We didn’t speak for almost 10 years.
Flash forward 10 years and many boyfriends later, and this guy decides that he’s ready to settle down. He knows what he wants in a woman and he remembers that he even knew one once. 😉 Cue the harps….
His timing happened to coincide with a Christmas trip I had planned to the Northwest to visit my family in 1999. It also coincided with several near misses I had connecting with other boyfriend material at the time. Yup, the stars started lining up.
By May of 2000, we were engaged and by June 2000, my beloved had sold his house, packed up his three cats and joined my in my 900 square foot high rise apartment in Marina del Rey with my two cats. That was a crazy time.
I did not know this until I became a mother, but I am a radical education choice activist. Actually, I’ve been a choice activist my entire life. Education is what has really had my attention for the last decade.
As we get ready for middle school next year, we’ve moved my daughter to a program with the Da Vinci Schools that is a hybrid home school/classroom program.
Homeschooling of any flavor is not for every family, but we’re making it work and ultimately, I do believe it’s a good choice for our family.
Every 4-6 weeks, each family is required to turn in paperwork demonstrating learning at home. Every unit, I jump through what seems like endless hoops to come up with interesting and engaging projects for my uber picky 11 year old.
She is a rabid American Girl fan and we had a lot of fun one unit studying the history of that company. Being an entrepreneur at heart, I love a good opportunity to slip in a few business lessons, like other moms slip zucchini in spaghetti sauce.
For this last unit, I came up with the idea of studying the start up of my daughter’s beloved online gaming community, Animal Jam. In the course of my background prep, I bumped into a beautiful presentation tool called Prezi, and my little techno-whiz readily took up the challenge of presenting her research findings in digital format.
“Social media is not just for socializing. When handled correctly, you can use it to enhance your personal brand, establish your expertise, or demonstrate your digital fluency. Commit to using social media for professional reasons and be proactive about managing your activity and image. Consider what potential employers or colleagues will see — you don’t want them to discover only pictures of you and your dog, or worse. Make sure at a minimum you have a LinkedIn account with a completed profile. Try….”
My fearless friend, Mary Ann Halpin, is releasing her fourth photo/essay book this month. Entitled Fearless Women, Visions of a New W♥rld, the book is third in a series of Fearless Women books.
To celebrate the new book and the Fearless Women movement, an amazing group of visionary women are meeting in Los Angeles, May 18-19, to create a soul stirring, heart storming, authentic connection in celebration of Mary Ann’s book and the growing call for women to step in and step up to lead the charge in shaping the future of our planet.
Come meet the women featured in Mary Ann’s new book and be inspired. Celebrate the Fearless Woman that you are with other visionary women! Bring a fearless friend!