February 28, 2009

Girly Rugby

Them is fighting words but I had to say it. Simone, Eve and I are having a girly day with greasy chips, proper scones and tea. We ended up in a pub watching Rugby - Scotland vs Italy. The Duncans are at the match and I'm sure they are cheering the quick score by Scotland.

I am having so much fun reclaiming all these experiences, making new memories. Again, how will I ever return to life in the States?

Thaxted

This is a six hundred year old building!

Dreams Can Come True

Stayed at Michael's flat last night in Edinburgh following a lovely evening catching up with the Duncans. So good to see them after 15 months apart, and to have a home-cooked meal!

Had the strangest dream at Michael's. Dreamed that I lived with friends and we had seven or eight cats. They were using a giant litter box out front and when I went to clean it, turns out there was a big hole underneath, like a ruff pit. I then became concerned that they would fall in if we didn't cover it with planking.

As Michael and I left his flat this morning I noticed that his front garden had a hole that some kind of cat had dug overnight. The bits of fill were spilling onto the driveway. Michael was surprised and thought maybe it had been a fox during the night. So very strange because the garden is very much shaped like the cat litter "pit" in my dream. Was I out there scratching? Goodness me.

Motor coach

Just returned to London from Scotland and am on the National Express to Stansted airport to meet Simone for a girls' night in Cambridge. We have tickets to see Slumdog Millionaire.

This is my first time on a London Motorway. Never had the "opportunity" when I lived here.

February 27, 2009

Blue Bath Hat

Leah and I spent the night in Bath and are on the last leg of our travels together. We are heading off to Paddington station and then on to Heathrow from where Leah is off to 10 days in Spain and I head up to Scotland for the night.

We hurried into Bath last night and literally ran to the Thermae Spa for three hours of steaming and soaking. Ahh.

I lost my famous black hat on the train from Leeds to Cardiff the other day. Now I am wearing my backup blue hat.

All is good this morning as Leah just found me some Roobios Chai and she has a cappuccino.

February 26, 2009

Bristol Team

We are now in Bristol doing our last session of the leadership programme. Here I am with Leah and Ann.

February 24, 2009

The Team

Amy, Leah and Martin!

Martin Closes Leeds

Here's Martin closing out the Leeds session and the last day that the three of us will be working on the programme together. Thursday we end the entire programme with our last stop in Bristol and out other partner Ann will be standing in for Martin.

What an adventure and a tremendous opportunity which will be missed. We are figuring out how to work to keep us going as a team.

Leeds Town Hall Stage

Today Leah, Martin and I are presenting in Leeds. Sadly, Simone is not joining the rest of us for this journey.

This is the inside of Leeds Town Hall but not the room we're Presenting in - we're in a small meeting room. Haven't seen much of Leeds as we arrived at midnight and slept until 10.15am.

February 23, 2009

Reaching New Heights

Our programme presentation was amazing today. Tomorrow we are in Leeds to do it again and then Thursday in Bristol for our "final show".

Today was an amazing day for so many reasons the least of which was the fact that I presented in a room on the 3th floor with floor to ceiling windows with sweeping views of London. For some that would be amazing but for me the prospect put me into a sleepless panic for the past 5 days. But with the support of Simone, Leah and Martin I totally got over my fear of heights. It took many hours of meditation and previsualisation but I did it. Yesterday, in preparation, we identified what success would be for each of us at for me I was able to articulate a vision that had everything to do with strength. It worked! On a scale of 1 to 10 on a panic scale I maybe hit a .5 for a total of 3 minutes over four hours. Amazing!

I do so like working in the UK with such wonderful friends. How often do we get to live our dreams? Only when we imagine they can come true.

Leah Connecting

She's telling the programme delegates about Oakland, CA. Go Leah!

Simone Reaches Her Goal

I am so proud of Simone because she stretched deep into her stretch goal zone by getting up in front of the group and speaking. She rocked!

Barclays London

Our first NCVO Leadership Programme in Barclays London.

February 20, 2009

So Easy to be Back

I know I keep saying it but it is easy to be back here. Even the news seems familiar. As well as the sticky toffee pudding.

No Place Like Home

I don't know why it is but London still feels more like home than San Francisco. Visiting my old office and hanging with my former office mates here in Kings Cross makes me wish I still lived here. Maybe it all seems more manageable or even grounded in some way. Can't really say. Perhaps I'm just being sentimental. So easy to reconnect and feel like I can help make a difference here. Hum.

Having a lovely evening with Pauline and Nim and had a wonderful reconnect with Val. Earlier had tea with Ann, Martin and Leah. Hum.

St Pancras and British Library

Two of my favorite buildings in London. British Library and St Pancras Station.

View from Novotel

I scored a super sweet deal at the Novotel at St Pancras Station. Check out this view.

Back in Paddington

The Heathrow Express takes me past my old neighborhood - Notting Hill near Paddington.

First Re-impressions

Happy to be back in London. Feels so familiar. Being here is meeting two of my goals - to consult internationally and to return to London.

Arrived!

Now immigration.

February 19, 2009

Lovely Lilt

Sitting here at SFO waiting to board the flight to London my ears are filled with the lilt of so many different British accents. I believe the family sitting in the waiting area next to me is speaking Welsh.

Living in the UK I never actually heard the language spoken, although I did see it written. Fascinating as it sounds like some Eastern European language spoken in English, that description doesn't exactly do it justice.

Upgrade!

OK, I splurged on an upgrade to the UK. It isn't hugely expensive.

Bus to BART to Plane

Me on the Alameda County Transit bus 50 on the first leg of my journey to the UK.

Ike vs. Calculator

Today was my first time on Ike in a long time since this is our first sunny day in about two weeks. I had a quick doctor's appointment down the street before leaving for the airport and Ike was the fastest way to make the trip. I have to say that it felt great to jump back on Ike.

Packing my last minute trip-essentials my thoughts, however, were with my new super geeky calculator and not about wishing I could take Ike back with me to the UK. Sorry Ike but that calculator is da bomb. I am addicted to using it all the time, even for the simplest calculations. I seriously contemplated taking it with me but I am actually renting it from school and had visions of leaving it on a train to be mishandled by someone who couldn't possibly need it as much as me.

February 18, 2009

Getting in the UK Groove

As I get all my consulting projects and homework in order prior to my trip to the UK I am actually very calm about the biz-venture (new term for business adventure). Leah has already landed in London by now and I head out tomorrow afternoon with a direct flight from San Francisco to Heathrow. We meet up on Friday afternoon with our co-consultants Martin and Ann. Then let the adventure begin!

I now have a UK data plan for the crackberry so planning on blogging as I go. Stay tuned!

February 17, 2009

Getting in My Space

I've had the most wonderful visitors to "my space" today. I've rarely had guests into my office and bedroom before today. Then in one day I've had four.

First my friend Leah visited to put the final touches on our UK leadership presentations. Then my housemate Stacey and her classmate were up in the office studying for school. My last visitor was Stacey's older son Lex who is also my housemate. Lex is four and it was really a treat to have him up here because he treated it as a great honor. Even though we see each other almost every day he acted super mature and careful with all my little trinkets. He even said my glass heart collection was cool.

What I noticed about all these visitors was that they felt relaxed in my zone. Each one said it was so nice to be someplace so quiet and cozy. Spending most of my time alone up here I forget how much of a special area I have created.

February 16, 2009

Preparing for the UK

Thursday I leave for my 10 day business trip to the UK. I love that it is a business trip as one of my goals is to continue to work internationally. I am finally co-presenting the NCVO Barclays Leadership Programme with my co-consultants Martin and Ann of Get2thepoint.org. We have been developing the program for a year and both Ann and Martin have been presenting sessions for the past nine months. Now I get to join in the fun.

What has been most exciting about this business venture-adventure is collaborating with my UK partners and my two friends Leah and Simone. Leah is based here in Oakland and has totally blown my mind on her expertise and commitment. Simone is our mutual friend who lives in the UK. What started out as birthday week get-away with two great friends has turned into a co-presenting partnership. Simone and Leah have put in dozens of volunteer hours to support the agenda and presentation content development. We all see this as a tremendous opportunity.

Our first program is in London and then the next day we're in Leeds followed by a one-day excursion to Cardiff, Wales and then on to Bristol and concluding in Bath. Whirlwind of travel! Plus, I'll be doing a one-day trip up to Edinburgh. The final. Day of the trip Ill be hooking up with my yoga pals and former neighbors in my old neighborhood in Nottinghill.

Feels like reclaiming my UK experience and very similar to my Houston trip last November.

Newest Blackberry Cozy

This is my most polished one so far. Note the flap and button.

February 14, 2009

Valentine's Arcade

Megan, Dallas and I are at the Metreon arcade in San Francisco playing virtual bowling and watching a very sweet couple do a duet on the dance machine.

Me at 3


As I prepare for my 40th birthday here's a photo of me at the age of three. I seem to remember this was taken at a train museum and I was getting a drink of water.

Rocking Statistics!

Victory dance one more time! Scored another 100% on my weekly test. Third in a row and this time without any visits to the tutor.

Midterm in two weeks. Now to keep up the momentum. Training in session.

This I Believe

On Sunday, January 18, 2009 the National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast of This I Believe, a regular program feature, was presented by seven-year-old Tarak McLain. I've been wanting to find the broadcast and post it. Listen to Tarak's 30 statements about belief. Really quite amazing.

4 min. 25 second Audio clip

webpage with photos.

February 13, 2009

Filling the Void

Since starting the Buddhist meditation classes with Pauletta Chanco and Rebecca Dixon at Alameda Yoga Station I have been noticing tremendous changes in my interactions - both with myself and others. An interesting occurance happened over the past couple of weeks relating to "tension" I have had, for as long as I can remember, in my stomach, chest and throat. For years it has felt like I'm holding back tears, bottling up emotions.

In our class we've been encouraged to notice where we hold tension and also not to attach too much emotional meaning to those areas. Therapy is all about obsessing over your obsessions. Meditation is about noticing. In this noticing the tension moved away from my throat and my chest and down into my belly. That alone was a relief.

Using my Neuro Linguistic Programming training I have been attempting to describe that tension for myself in terms of shape, form, sound and color. Notice, no emotions in that mix. As I describe the "qualities" of the tension I also breath deeply into the area. Last week suddenly (or maybe it took a long time and I suddenly noticed it) the tension was cut-off. As I sat and meditated and even throughout my day I noticed that my "internal reflexes" would try to find or create that tension when I was in certain situations, but the path was short circuited.

The tension is not fully gone, I notice that it is there when I sit to meditate. Feels like a knot in my belly that I keep breathing into to try and loosen. Something else I noticed this week was that I was eating faster and more aggressively. On Wednesday, following an intense client pitch session and prior to Statistics class I ate two ginormous slices of pizza and instantly had a belly ache for the next three hours. My belly was saying, "notice me." I didn't realize this until yesterday when I had eaten yet another meal at lightening speed. The absence of the tension is creating a void that my mind/body/subconscious (?) wants to fill? So very interesting.

Flowers and Proms


Friends keep posting old photos onto Facebook. A walk down memory lane. Here's a great shot of us preparing for the Stamford High School Senior Prom 1987. I think we look cute.
How strange that last night I had a dream about Debbie and this morning a photo of her pops up in my in-box. She's the one in the full floral dress - although that really could be any of us.

February 11, 2009

February 10, 2009

Flashback to 2002


Check out this 2002 photo of me from the Golden Gate University Alumni Board of Directors.

Observations: This is when I first started wearing my hair straight, interesting glasses and I'm wearing Stephen's sweater.
I actually look pretty much the same except for slightly better hair, no glasses and of course not wearing that sweater.
Today I almost purchased a pair of earrings just like these.

Early Spring

Blooms are starting to bud on the trees because of our warm weather and rain. Today is cold again so what will happen to these early blooms?

February 7, 2009

Peaceful Evening

Sitting here listening to Latin love songs, sipping peppermint tea and doing my math homework I have tremendous peace. 8:30pm on a saturday night and I am relaxed and content. A year ago I would have never imagined that this would be me.

Feel Good Bakery

Obama is our daily bread.

February 6, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

Observation about men in the San Francisco Financial District. They seem to be taller, more handsome and obviously athletic than other man that I am noticing around the Bay Area. OK, so this sounds like I'm scoping out a future millionaire. That's not the case. According to my friend John, these men are the best and brightest of our species. They are the financial leaders for a reason. Survival of the fittest.

I must report John's bias as he has a financial background and certainly wants to aligned with "the elite." On the other hand, maybe the better you look the further you go. Perhaps these guys can afford to play hard and practice botoxing. That's a new term I'm coining "botoxing" is the act of trying to live backwards, to be forever young and to stay aligned with the beautiful people. But this beauty may only be skin deep.

Give me the grungy artsy dudes any day - as long as they are showered and have their front teeth..

Tap Dancing on Eggshells

This week's work theme has been tap dancing on eggshells. It culminated with me facilitating a strategic planning retreat on the 33rd floor of a San Francisco skyscraper. Floor to ceiling windows and I am not a fan of heights. The meeting was a huge success and believe me I was happy to reach the ground floor when it was over. Success indicator: facilitator did not faint.

Searching googlefor an image to include in this post I discovered that none exist. The world needs some images of people tap dancing on eggshells.

Stand by Me

My friend Leah sent this link to a fantastic music video called Stand By Me: Song Around the World created by the movement Playing for Change.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Us-TVg40ExM&hl=es&fs=1

It is worth a viewing.

Looking into the Playing for Change website I am inspired by the clarity, simplicity and creativity of their vision and solution. We need more of these kinds of non-profits. Ones that are making peace and speaking in the vernacular of popular culture. Social enterprise in action!

February 5, 2009

Making a Move?

Over the past 24 hours a thought has lodged itself in my brain - I think I want to move into San Francisco. Yes, I love Alameda and in particular Alameda Yoga Station. But, most of my social life and business is in San Francisco. Plus, I'll be honest, being single and living in the burbs is not cutting it any more.

Tonight I did the First Thursday gallery circuit with my peeps, many who are now part of www.meetup.com/BizArts and we had a wonderful time. One woman asked how I like being back in San Francisco and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, "I love it". That surprised me. She thought that perhaps my heart loves it but my mind is holding back. I think I'm ready to stop holding back. Going to wait until after my birthday to make any moves.

February 4, 2009

Alone in a Crowd

I am noticing that if you look around any crowded area a significant percentage of folks are text messaging. I am sure if I took a sample of the population I could chart the probability of X people being on a cell phone.

To finish off an unbelievably challenging day I am having a HUGE pina colada and veg quesadilla at our local Mexican restaurant La Pinata. At least half the people at the bar are alone and texting. Obviously, this includes me too.

Is this cool factor? A way of ensuring you're not bothered or an illustration of the ultimate loneliness?

February 2, 2009

Preparing for UK Business Trip

In preparation for my business trip to England, Scotland and Wales at the end of February I needed to get in touch with my UK bank. Thanks to the ease of Skype I was able to seamlessly contact the bank by phone. Oh how lovely to hear the Glaswegian accent of the woman at the service centre. It was so familiar and I knew I was in good hands.

At the conclusion of our conversation the call centre woman, who had become increasingly excited throughout our call, (not because of my account balance), asked me where from the States I was calling. When I told her San Francisco I could just imagine the smile on her face and the gleam in her eyes. "Oh lovely, what is the weather like there?" I told her the truth, sunny and warm. "Oh bring some of that sunshine with you when you visit" was her response. I asked her about the snow they are experiencing today and she told me it had blanketed the entire UK but hoped it would melt before I got there. "I can use a little snow" I told her.