The Sum Of My Parts

be strongFourteen 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.¬†ūüėȬ†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.

Soon we were pregnant. And then we weren’t. And then we were pregnant again. And then we weren’t. The third time we got to Continue reading “The Sum Of My Parts”

The fun stuff that passes for homework

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.

It’s so much fun that I had to share:

Know the Basics of Putting Your Professional Self Online

See on Scoop.itDigital Rep Building

“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….”

See on hbr.org

Fearless Women, Visions Of A New World

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!

For more information on the event, check out Fearless Women Global — Visions of a New World ‚ô•.

Can’t make the event? Buy the book¬†here.

The Internet On Strike

I just bumped into my first website on strike.  I know of a couple of others who put up black marks over their logos.  The implications of the web on strike are fascinating to me.  This is a highly organized campaign.  Notice that somebody created the page below and offered it to anybody who cared to use it.  The template also includes a form for emailing Congress.

See the page live at http://sopastrike.com/strike.

UPDATE: ¬†I accidentally bumped into a setting on my blog dashboard offering to send my site dark or add a ribbon of protest. ¬†Talk about organized! ¬†This blog is on the wordpress.com platform. ¬†A setting like this makes it extremely simple for hundreds of thousands of bloggers to black out today. ¬†Like I said above — fascinating….

Autobiography In Five Short Chapters

Warning!  Enlightenment ahead!

I first read the poem below about 15 years ago. At that time, I thought it was “amusing.” I bumped into it the other day and after 15 years of more falling down than I care to remember, I have a deeper appreciation for the piece.

The poem was written by Portia Nelson in the late 70’s and has been adopted by many motivational speakers and addiction recovery programs over the years.

I like to think I’ve gotten to Chapter 5, but more likely it’s Chapter 4. Alas, if I was already writing my ending, what would I do with the next 50 years of my life?

A big shout out and thank you to my friend Chellie Campbell for introducing me to this piece 15 years ago.

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

Playa del Rey Animal Shelter Drive


Saturday, Dec. 3rd 2011
9a-2p
Triangle Park
@ Waterview & Trask

Please bring: new or gently used blankets, beds, towels, washable cat & dog toys (large KONG toys are great), assorted treats for cats & dogs (avoid rawhide & pig ears), grooming items, travel crates, cat litter, unopened bags of dog & cat food, canned food, new collars and leashes.

Blankets and beds provide shelter animals warmth, comfort, security and a cozy place to snuggle, especially during freezing months in outdoor shelters. Questions? Call Donna @ 310 890-3881

Speak Up NOW For A Light Rail Train Station In Westchester

Posted today on Yahoo by the Westchester Neighbors Association

Posted by: “Judith Citrin”¬†jpcitrin @ gmail.com

Tue Nov 8, 2011 10:20 am (PST)
We need your emails!! If we act now, Westchester can have a station on the new Crenshaw/LAX line that will link our community to a vast light rail system of the future—to downtown LA, the South Bay, the Westside and beyond.

The train will be going through Westchester along Florence and Aviation. But at this point, no Westchester station is planned. LA County Supervisor Don Knabe is asking the Metro Board to include an at-grade station at Hindry and Florence in the bid process. Our city councilman Bill Rosendahl has promised to help us find the funding.

PLEASE SEND EMAILS TO THE METRO BOARD!!

E-mail the entire Metro Board at¬†harperj@metro.net¬†and copy Julie¬†Moore of Supervisor Knabe’¬ís office¬†JMoore@lacbos.org. The message¬†can be as simple as ¬ďI support Supervisor Knabe’s motion for an at-grade Westchester station.¬Ē (see more info below)

ATTEND THE METRO BOARD COMMITTEE MEETING

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 10:30 AM, One Gateway Plaza, downtown LA (you can take the train or for carpool, contact me)

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Judy Citrin

BENEFITS OF HINDRY STATION

-bring community development and beautification

-increase property values

-take cars off our streets

-connect to LAX people mover

-allow people to visit our restaurants, businesses and playhouse

Transit for Westchester

Posted by: “Edgar Saenz”¬†esaenz @ ca.rr.com

Tue Nov 8, 2011 10:56 am (PST)

Hello Friends, I totally agree with Judith.With your voice, Westchester residents can (in five years) ride a train on the new Crenshaw/LAX Line from a Westchester station to downtown LA, Staples Center, a future NFL football stadium, USC, MOCA, the
courthouse, the Dorothy Chandler, Disney Hall, Union Station, LAX, and eventually the South Bay. Please (1) e-mail the supervisor now, or (2) join me at the MTA next week.

THE NEW CRENSHAW/LAX LINE:

The Crenshaw/LAX line is a new light rail line through Los Angeles and Inglewood. Its 8.5 mile route will connect the Expo Line with the Green Line over the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way. Ground will be broken in 2013.

Supervisor and MTA Board Member Don Knabe has introduced a motion that seeks design, bid, and construction of an at-grade Westchester station between Manchester and Hindry.

The Crenshaw/LAX line’s coming. The train’s going through Westchester. The¬†question is whether it’ll stop in Westchester.

Action Requested:

(1) E-mail support. You may e-mail and copy Julie Moore of¬†Supervisor Knabe’s office <JMoore@lacbos.org¬†. The message can be as simple¬†as “I support the supervisor’s motion for a Westchester station.”

(2) Attend the Committee meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17.

The motion will be considered at the Construction Committee, which meets on¬†Thursday, November 17 at 10:30 am, One Gateway Plaza , 3rd Floor Board Room,¬†Los Angeles. (With this proposed station, in the future you could take a¬†train to MTA meetings.) Knabe chairs that committee. Knabe’s office has¬†written that “the community’s comments on the motion, as well as any¬†support, would be greatly appreciated.” Your support will help him help us.

Since we can’t take a train (yet), let’s carpool. (Edgar’s no.¬†310-753-1668)

Yours for a better Westchester,
Edgar

Edgar Saenz, Esq.
8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 102
Los Angeles, CA 90045
T (310) 753-1668

Help Me Pick A Book Title, Please!

Almost 10 years ago, another woman entrepreneur and I started a tech company on a shoestring — as in (almost) no money.

That’s me in the picture signing the incorporation documents. ¬†Look at how young I look. ¬†=-) ¬†And yes, that is Zoe (oxygen tank and all) in that stroller next to me. ¬†Anybody who knows me will also recognize my office setting of choice — Starbucks.

It was an interesting time indeed. ¬†I hadn’t been married very long to a man I hadn’t dated that long. ¬†And we had just moved into our new house one week before our baby came home from three months in the NICU. ¬†There were a few things going on.

But you never know when opportunity is going to knock and I’m one of those people who doesn’t sit around wondering if I should open the door.

Interestingly, my new business partner was somebody I hardly knew. ¬†She had partnered up with another woman I knew who pitched me as a logical addition to the team. ¬†My connection fell out of the equation early on and there I was with I partner I’d known a mere matter of months.

I like to joke that my partner and I went out on a blind date, and ran away and got married. ¬†Just like you sometimes see in love, it just worked. ¬†We’ve always understood each other, and been able to support each other with few words.

Had it not been for the fact that our company was a real estate technology company with a brand new technology that most realtors didn’t quite get the hang of before the market crashed, I think we’d be headed for an early retirement. ¬†As it was, we crashed and burned along with the market in 2006-ish (it’s such a blur now). ¬†The company we built, however, was pretty damned impressive for two chicks and a technology.

Fast forward to today.  The great recovery to the Great Recession is very slow in coming.  A lot of people have decimated retirement accounts, zippo in savings, maxed out credit cards and upside down mortgages. But they still have ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.  They either want or need to start a business for supplemental or primary income.

My former business partner and I want to write a book to share the things we learned about launching a relatively sophisticated company on a shoestring. ¬†The intended audience is somebody with no experience and little or no money, but with an idea or at least an interest in starting a business (we’ll provide some tips for discovering marketable ideas, also).

With this intended audience in mind, we have come up with a couple of title ideas and we’re looking for input.

What else? ¬†We’re interested in hearing all ideas. ¬†Leave them in the comments. ¬†Please also share this post/poll with your own networks. ¬†We want as much feedback as possible. Thank you!