July 31, 2008
1. A giant piece of carrot cake - room temperature
2. Really junky tabloid like People Magazine or In Touch
3. An oversized happy face flower shaped balloon.
Yes, it is a $15 investment but I guarantee you happiness will increase by a significant factor.
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Gosh, I feel so tired of the same old politics. All the negative attacks. With the current economy and our slumped shoulders we need solutions.
July 30, 2008
July 27, 2008
Unpacking the boxes this morning I discovered all the little bits and pieces that make a place feel like home. These are the collections of things I brought to London and continued to grow over the years. A collection of glass hearts, hand crafted eggs, my etchings, scarves, and ceramics. Placing them around my place I instantly felt like this is home. Unfortunately there were a few broken items but not bad considering they were shipped from the UK to DC and then on to SF.
Seeing Mama Mia with Rachel and David was the ultimate ending to the day. Meryl Streep, as always, is an inspiration. Clearly I identified with her character as I dreamt last night that I had her long, long blond hair. More than her hair I felt touched by the duality of her character's strength/vulnerability, calm/panic, age/agelessness, creativity/practicality. This photo captures it all, especially the setting - her bedroom in Greece.
After leaving the film we chatted about saving for the future. What is it that I am saving for? Rachel reminded me, the farm and continuing my work in international civic leadership. How quickly I was distracted from my clearly-stated goals during my whirlwind reconnection with Bay Area life.
This image of Meryl stretching herself apart and at the same time pulling herself together while jumping madly on her bed is how I'm feeling these days.
July 25, 2008
Drunk man #1: Are you from Australia?
Amy: Are you saying you think I have an accent?
Drunk man #2: Where are you from with that accent?
Amy: California but I just moved back from London.
Drunk man #2: They speak perfect hoity toity English over there in London, even if they don't think they have an accent
You gotta love how we Americans let it hang out on payday.
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July 23, 2008
I was able to post this and the previous image directly from my crackberry while on the boat on the Bay. Needless to say it was a perfect recipe for seasickness. There were moments I felt like my dad as we were pulling out to the Bay and I was busy looking at the crackberry not at all being "in the moment". It was a fantastic evening. I actually took the helm for our exit out of and entrance into the Marina. This made up for the last time I went out on the Bay and I got so scared about "driving the boat." Now new good memories and even the confidence to be working the sails.Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T
July 22, 2008
July 21, 2008
July 20, 2008
I had the pleasure of participating as a prep cook and waitron at last night's extravaganza. Let's just say that the volunteer staff eats just as well as the 10 guests. Starting at 1pm and working through to 10pm we ate, cooked, cleaned, served and sang. Well, they sang and I listened. The guests commented that it sounded like we were having even more fun in the kitchen then they were having in the dining room.
Highlights from the meal included Red and Green Gazpachos, Pork Ragu with Polenta and two kids of Tiramisu - regular and Berrymisu which uses berries and citrus liquor instead of chocolate and coffee. The hosts to their menu to a wine shop and had each course paired with a lovely wine. In the kitchen we had our own supply too. Luckily we had lots of leftovers so I'll be enjoying this meal again over the next couple of days.
Here is Dave cooking the Pork Ragu and a photo of the Gazpacho ready to go out to guests.
I've linked to recipes but these are not the ones used by our Chef Jonathon Moon.
July 18, 2008
Security guard "nice bike!"
Amy "thanks, it folds."
Security guard "nice accent!"
Amy "accent, what accent? Must be because I'm talking about my UK bike?"
Security guard (now looking at me all gaga) "Yeah, nice accent."
At this point I had to end the conversation before he proposed marriage or something more extreme although I can,t think of what that would be.
July 17, 2008
I experienced this in action when I stayed with Matt and Rachel in DC for May and June. They are living what I would call a sustainable lifestyle and perhaps others would call it Green. Their home operates more as a collective in terms of sharing a house with roommates, keeping expenses down through conversation, a focus on recycling and using public transit and bicycles as much as possible.
Last night I had the most wonderful conversation with a new friend Miriam who is a sustainability consultant who believes that collaboration is the key to success. Needless to say we had a lot in common. During our conversation I reflected on my choice to rent a room in my friends' house, to use public transit and my bike to get around. Yes, some of this is motivated by the high costs of living in the Bay Area, but it also stems from my desire to live sustainably.
Sustainable living in the East Bay of San Francisco seems to be the wave of the present (as opposed to the future). In a conversation this morning I learned that the Fruitvale BART station has a free valet bike parking from 6am to 8pm at the Fruitvale Bike Station operated by Alameda Bicycle. I was so concerned about riding my bike and parking it at BART. Today I tried it out and the service is fantastic! Riding my bike adds 20 minutes on to the commute into San Francisco but it saves me $1.75 each way and I get my exercise. Plus, the route is direct and safe with a really wide bike lane.
In yet another conversation today I was thinking out loud about how long I will live with Stacey and Stefan. The woman I was talking to said that I should stay as long as possible to save my money. Rents are going up as people move out of their houses and rent apartments instead. Living arrangements such as mine are going to become more common. Yesterday's New York Times confirmed this with their article, Homeowners Take in Boarders in order to make mortgage payments. That's exactly my current situation. It is such a lovely deal for all of us, especially since we've been friends for over ten years.
As the economics of living in the US get more challenging with costs of fuel rising, job market potentially dipping, food costs increasing - you'll start to see more people evaluating their lifestyle choices in order to live more sustainably.
July 16, 2008
"You're Blackberry is so sleek" he said.
"It is the newest one - I got it on Monday." I responded.
"Oh it is so nice. Mine is not so nice. It is too big. But it is for work so I have to carry it around."
"This is an addiction - you can keep getting the latest and greatest ones - just look at people going crazy over the iphone." I commented.
"Yeah, I guess this one works for me. Oh, gotta go, that's my train. Nice chatting with you." He reaches over and gives me a nice pat on the shoulder.
This guy didn't try to pinch (British term for stealing something) my crackberry, he didn't try to pick me up, he just wanted to chat about our technology.
Then I got on the train, took a seat and pulled out my new book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Chabon. The woman in the seat next to me said.
"Ooh, do you like the book?"
"Just started it, on page 11 and good so far."
"I'm reading Salomon Rushdie. His latest book is fantastic."
On and on went our conversation and it extended into clothing, mortgages, Victorian lifestyles, and Alameda - where we both happen to live. The woman offered me a ride home and I said yes. Well, should could have tried to kill me or something crazy but I decided to take the chance. We chatted the entire way.
It is still a reverse culture shock to have people be so friendly to me after my time in the UK, especially on London's Tube where even if the person next to you is reading the same book as you no conversation is made. I love that folks from the San Francisco Bay Area are eager to make small talk and get to know people. In the past I would have shied away but now I'm "living out loud" and trying to connect to people. Seems worth the effort.
July 14, 2008
When it comes to technology I am anything but bleeding edge. So, giving up my super little mobile phone which I brought over with me from the UK is really hard, especially since it has that super camera on it. However, my blackberry has a camera (not as good) and I can blog and post photos instantly. Can't beat that.
July 13, 2008
As for the photography opportunity, we were not disappointed. Our intention was to get photos of the BART trains passing overhead. We were continuously amazed that this festival was happening, in Oakland, just feet from BART.
Images: The Crucible Fire Arts Festival 2008
July 10, 2008
You can see by this post and the previous one that the houses and businesses here in Alameda are located in old Victorian buildings.
July 8, 2008
July 7, 2008
Who knew that a year later I would be living there too - and that my job would take me to Kings Cross Tube Station every day - the location of the bombings. Flowers are placed by the memorial each year and I imagine that today there is a huge garden or remembrance.
July 5, 2008
So far I've made it to Oakland, Berkeley, South San Francisco and all over the City of San Francisco. The only landmark of note that I've not yet seen - the Golden Gate Bridge. Kind of hard to miss but I know those golden gates are waiting for me.
July 3, 2008
Amazing realization -I'm back to being the happy, optimistic, friendly, "connector" I was before I moved away three years ago on July 3, 2005. Although I quickly fit into the Houston scene it was such a brief respite of only 10 months. Then London was two years of extreme personal and professional growth. It never felt like home.
When I first landed here last Saturday I was nervous about being back in San Francisco. Was I going backwards? Was I going to over-commit to projects and get under-paid again? Were people going to ask me about my failed marriage? Was I going to be able to start again? But I have evolved and so have my friends, my network. We're all a bit more mature, a bit wiser and more grounded in what it is that makes us tick.
I found my heart again in my lovely home by the Bay, San Francisco.
At first I came up with something very lofty and filled with lingo. I then tried to share it with Nicole and I couldn't even remember what it was. Didn't roll of the tongue, got stuck in the brain. Following the KISS theory (Keep It Simple Sister) I chunked up on the vision (meaning that I took it up a few notches) and this is what I realized.
Vision and Mission statement - all blended into one:
Live your dream: make it happen
That's what I'm about. I'm starting to reflect that more in my consulting and coaching website Leading-Together.