December 31, 2008
December 30, 2008
I tried my seat and then felt the need to get up and step back against the wall. As people shuffled to their seats I continued to stand against that back wall next too a guard/usher in his red jacket. He took no notice of me until I asked if I could take an empty seat in the back row because I was concerned about the height. He shrugged his shoulders and said sure. But as the theater went dark every seat was filled except for mine. On a scale of 1 to 10 of fear I was at about a 3 which was pretty good. The guard exited the theatre and I decided to sit down on the floor. Now I was down to a 2 and I could see the performance just fine. As the music and dancing started that 2 became a 1.5 and as intermission started I was sure I could take my seat for the second half. The fact that no one was making an issue of my fear was a huge help. In the past I felt like an idiot and embarrassment to everyone around me. Not this time.
As we re-entered the theater after intermission I took my seat and my fear was now a 1. I even got up to let my mom shuffle in to her seat after she braved the endless bathroom line. There I was, in my seat, enjoying the performance without fear. That was until the gunshot in the final scene, which is my other theater snaffoo. I'll work on that next.
As we exited the theater we asked some of the staff about the sound system and lack of supertitles which we had heard would be used for the scenes acted in Spanish. Their response over and over was that this was just a preview for Broadway and they were working out the kinks. We kept responding that that was good and fine for them but for us it was a "real" night out and not a preview. I suppose we were really saying that we were experiencing it in the present whilst they were looking at the future and to take it one step further I was letting go of the past.
December 27, 2008
December 26, 2008
December 25, 2008
December 24, 2008
December 23, 2008
December 21, 2008
Asilomar is a state park and conference facility in Pacific Grove located just along the ocean front. We had the pleasure of watching the sunset and following the pelicans on their fishing adventures along the coast.
I just noticed a deer resting a few feet away from me. Maureen and I were conjecturing during our ride up about where deer rest during our waking hours. Now I know - under small pine trees.
December 19, 2008
December 18, 2008
Score each opportunity/idea on a scale of 1-10 (low to high):
- Makes me happy.
- reflects my values.
- Promotes goodness in the world.
- I am not losing money or time.
- There are more people involved than just me.
- I am doing this promote my goals and not someone else's.
- it fulfills a "moving-towards goal as opposed to running-away-from goal"
The good news is that two folks just showed up at the happy hour! I am no longer alone.
Why am I writing this "note to self - because here I am again, organizing an event. I dreaded it all week and then all day. Now I'm here and no one has shown because we had to move the location last minute. Plus, it is raining. Rain for Californians is like cryptonite. Plus, the bartender at this new location is super not friendly.
Okay, enough kafetching and now to make myself look like 15 people.
December 17, 2008
December 16, 2008
Now I'm motivated to learn everything business, like a sponge!
Probably not the best temperature for bike riding. Went to a meeting in Oakland via bike and got a huge ear ache. Plus, our house is not well heated. But, I do have some fantastic new flannel sheets to keep me warm.
December 14, 2008
This weekend I am seeing the play Becoming Julia Morgan written by my friend playwright Belinda Taylor. It is being performed at Asilomar in Monterey. To work up to it I am going to spend the week seeing Julia Morgan buildings.
December 13, 2008
ColitiScope is the perfect book for patients to share with friends and family to foster understanding of this debilitating and potentially embarrassing disease. Sharp observations, handy tips, and hilarious anecdotes make it a must-read for every IBD patient and their supporters.
December 12, 2008
After beeing a "squater" of sorts for six months I am finally committing to making this my home. Must be school that is helping me feel settled.
My plan is to spend most of my time in Alameda and only go into San Francisco when I have client meetings. That should be about twice a week. Alameda is so beautiful. We're two blocks from the beach and on from Trader Joe's. But the best feature of the house are the giant redwoods out back. Photo to be posted in a moment.
December 10, 2008
Starting with the end...I have been accepted into Golden Gate University's Doctor of Business Administration program! So very happy about this news. My focus will be sustainable social enterprise.
Previous to that was the meeting in which I was let go from my company and then contracted as a consultant at a far better hourly rate. Health insurance is going to be the challenge there.
So, spreading my wings and feeling more secure than ever in a certain uncertain set of circumstances.
Here we are again on a Wednesday with the Zisman Clan at Cafe Trieste North Beach. Gotta love the cousins. However, these are not them - just a few avid fans. Cousin Michael Z aka Zbo is in the background wearing the black hat.
(had to severely edit this post - too much wine when written.)
December 8, 2008
Tonight I'm heading into San Francisco to see my co-worker Kay Hilton's play. The ride to BART was surprisingly easy. However, I think I'm getting the bridge, tunnel, BART disorder which many East Bayer's are afflicted with when considering expedition's into the big scary city. The only problem with my affliction is that I work there!
Had a fantastic visit with another long lost friend found on Facebook. This time it was Andrew who worked for me at CopyMat three lifetimes ago when I lived in Salinas. Reconnecting after all these years and catching up on our various adventures was fun. Plus, I exposed him to some San Francisco Bay arts and arts folks and he fit into the scene.
December 3, 2008
Liz is beyond a free spirit. I would call her a free radical. When we met in London she was bouncing off the walls, literally. But then she sat down next to me, put her hand on my back and I felt this unexpected surge of warmth. sometimes when all around me is chaos I imagine that warmth and instantly relax.
Chatting with Liz she bestowed another gem. "Chronic illness comes from indecision, causing endless suffering, but it can be reversed." This reminds me of what I am learning through Buddhist meditation. Trying to hold on to something or even pushing it away results in suffering.
I am working on letting go of the painful past which I keep revisiting over and over to figure out the clues that will help me understand what went wrong. I am doing the same with a few current situations as well. This causes me headaches and stomachaches. Is this really how I want to live my life, noodling over what I wish was or wasn't?
My goal is to be more decisive and to be present with the intention of living healthily in mind, body and soul.
December 1, 2008
To top off this upbeat Monday morning my co-worker Theron told me how much he loves working with me and how I inspire him. Theron also lives in Alameda and is my neighbor so maybe us island-based folks like to share the love.
November 30, 2008
November 29, 2008
My address when I lived in Salinas, CA
I am/was connected to Stephen
My sister Marlene's age - how did it even know her name?
That I graduated from Golden Gate University
Either they are reading my blog, I am being stalked or everything is connected through my social security number.
November 28, 2008
November 27, 2008
Are these fairies watching over me? They need names... Lady, Sandy and Penny. Starting to wonder if I am losing the plot.
I'll be dining on Foturkey/Tofurkey with my cousin Diana in Berkeley whilst my folks are dining with her parents in Westchester County. So, we're having a virtual bi-coastal gathering.
Turns out that my schedule allows me to be off work until Tuesday. My project over the next few days is to take my annual photo expedition to make images for my holiday greeting card. I'm scoping out the Golden Gate Bridge this year. Last year it was The London Eye from the Millennium Bridge over River Thames. Maybe I should make this an annual expedition to bridges around the world.
Ah yes, thinking about photography has pulled me out of my Foturkey stupor.
As a side note, my crackberry doesn't like to spell check Tofurkey and keeps suggesting that the actual spelling is "divorce". I suppose that could be a meat-eating computer programmer's hidden message.
November 23, 2008
The conclusion was understated tragedy of legacy lost in this endless war, instantly breaking my heart for what was Baghdad.
Photo: Sofia Jean Gomez whispers tales into the ears of the king (Ryan Artzberger) when Mary Zimmerman returns to Berkeley Rep with The Arabian Nights.
Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com
I am especially interested in folks who are driven to undermine themselves and their organizations. Sounds harsh but I'm seeing it regularly. In coaching there is a concept called Limiting Beliefs. These are negative and undermining thoughts that directly connected with your core values, even if they are in direct conflict with your goals. Limiting beliefs need to be explored and hopefully dispelled if you want to reach your goals.
What I am now interested in is what compels people to derail meetings by trying to make others fearful. Is it control? Power? Ego? Actually, it seems to come down to insecurity. I've always been dazzled or perhaps dazed by people who are loud, critical and negative. In the past I've interpreted this behavior as power and security. After much exploration I now realize it is really insecurity that drives their actions. In fact, it can tip over into bullying quite quickly.
I don't have a psychology degree but what I do recognize amongst these folks is the need for attention. If they say something outrageous they immediately get our attention, even if it is negative attention. It is like they are crying out to be noticed, literally. Within an organization these people often, mysteriously rise to the top. Perhaps others step aside to avoid conflict?
As a facilitator and coach I focus on solutions. As these folks raise their endless criticisms and complaints I reflect on the goal and how these negative comments aren't getting us closer to what we've all agreed needs to be accomplished. It is a constant test of my "power" in the facilitation, and as the meeting leader I do have to hold that space. Plus, I need to ensure that the other folks, who may have fantastic contributions to make to the organization, are not derailed and disillusioned. It is become an easier task as I practice stepping back and not to getting all wrapped up in their issues.
In the past I would have taken their comments to heart - even as personal attacks. Now I know that they are just crying out to be heard.
November 21, 2008
November 20, 2008
What was most wonderful and brought tears to my eyes was the first question the facilitator asked the teens, please tell us your dream college." They each were able to immediately share the school of their dreams. I was so impressed. We were also asked to share the school of our dreams and I was surprised that Rode Island School of Design was my response.
I was shocked that through the course of the evening I had learned so much about student loans and financing that I was able to work with two young guys to explore the best financial aid options based on financial obligations.
The highlight was when they asked us what we studied, what our first job was out of college and what we do now. They were so impressed that I studied Cinema/Photo, English and Arts Management and especially liked that I had worked at CopyMat. Who knew that would be considered cool some day.
A few factors were at play. First, the fancy mixed drinks we had for dinner put me in a happy state-of-mind. But also it was the affection I saw between Stacey and Stefan this morning as they flirted. This is the couple I knew before they had two boys. It was a little peak into the affection that holds their relationship together at the core.
So fantastic to live in a loving home with great friends, their sister and two crazy kids and their. Redefines family.
November 17, 2008
November 16, 2008
November 15, 2008
This is a photo of the textile Lab. I love the windows and the great shadows. The room has a deep silence as sound is absorbed by the fabrics and low ceiling.
November 13, 2008
Highlights of my visit...
- Staying with Sara Kellner at her tree house apartment for 6 days and. Experiencing the serenity of her lifestyle.
- Reconnecting with Roberta Levy after 30 years and being blown away by her achievements.
- Every minute of the National Arts Marketing Project Conference www.artsmarketing.org.
- Catching up with Jenny P over dinner at Niko Nikos and having her offer to join me to go visit my stuff in storage.
- Connecting with the folks who run or are considering starting Business Volunteers for the Arts in Houston, Portland, Miami, LA, and Phoenix. They've all inspired me to keep moving forward on the feasibility study.
- Facilitating the Release Your Inner Blogger roundtable discussions and making a new friend, Clay, who works at Theatre Bay Area in San Francisco.
- Adventuring with Jenny P. to locate and visit the three containers of stuff Stephen and I have in storage. After three years of dreading the visit it turned out to be a healing experience.
- Visiting the new Aurora Picture Show now located across from the Menil Collection in the heart of Montrose. Reconnecting with Andrea Grover, seeing how beautiful and relaxed she looks and bringing closure to feeling like I let her down when I left the Assistant Director job.
- Dining with Bob and Lillian Warren, catching up on all their adventures and viewing Lillian's new video work. How wonderful to be trusted by an artist to share their latest ideas.
- Seeing the new and improved Houston Center for Photography with its digital darkroom and fantastic library.
Leaving is bittersweet. There are a few more folks I would have loved to have seen but ran out of time. What was so surprising was how happy I felt here and that I could pick up and start living in Houston again with hardly a second thought.
The stars at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
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November 12, 2008
November 11, 2008
The biggest challenge was getting started and then who will keep it going. There was lots of concern about letting people post bad reviews of arts performances. We're so enabling in the arts.
Getting staff, board, artists and volunteers to blog was like climbing a mountain. Came up with some great solutions.
- give people a tape recorder, have them speak their post and then transcribe. Even better post it as an audio podcast. Better yet, get them on video and post it.
- give people a digital camera and have them take photos and post those. How about backstage shots during the performance and posting them in real time. Imagine the buzz you'd build.
- have people complete questionnaires about there arts/involvement and post the responses.
- ask everyone to post a minimum of three words or a maximum of three sentences about how their work/involvement in the organization relates to the current production/exhibition.
The second session had many folks who post personal blogs. They had good advice about how a blog communicates your values and the same could be true for your arts organization's blog. This is done through the various topics, links and which blogs you recommend reading. One woman said that when they post bad reviews about a member theater company they actually get the most comments and sell more tickets because people want to see the show and witness just how bad it is...or is not.
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November 10, 2008
November 9, 2008
November 8, 2008
Driving out of Houston's Hobby airport in my snazzy rental car a few hours ago the first thing I noticed is that this city smells like BBQ. A lovely welcoming fragerance. My friend Sara is hosting me this week andher cozy little garage apartment is about six blocks from my former Houston home. Driving around is like re-drawing latent map ib my mind - the same experience I had upon returning to San Francisco four months ago.
I had some Tex Mex for dinner at Chuye's which I actually only dined at once in the ten months I lived here in 2005-06.Would you believe I even bought one of the restaurant's t-shirts? It has martinis on the front and says "group therapy". I think I needed a Houston full-on experience to get in the Sothern groove. Let's just hope I don't meet any Palmetto bugs.
This blog was actually launched when I moved to Houston! Am I retracing my steps?