January 30, 2011
Paris Underground from NPR on Vimeo.
January 29, 2011
January 28, 2011
Looking at my siblings and their lives - filled with children, partners and homes - and then mine, which really is more like a college student - I wonder if I am stuck in time. Is this a lucky life I lead - where I can pursue anything and everything with little accountability - or is it a life where I keep dodging responsibility? No, I am quite responsible. Three years ago I would never have expected that I would be on this journey of continuous self-discovery.
I suppose it was being sick these past few weeks that has made me think about the past, present and future. My friends are my family and my family are my friends. I live without a partner, kids, a pet, a mortgage, following whatever path interests me.
Last week I had my culinary students write out their goals and if they had a panic-zone goal, how could they bring it into the stretch-zone. One student wrote that her greatest fear is becoming the crazy cat lady who sits in a rocking chair and looks out the attic window. I wrote on her paper that I share the same panic-zone visual. It is just difficult to imagine, as I age, that I will not become more unusual and eccentric as I live for myself. Maybe that is a good thing - being my own character? Sometimes I wish I could see the future and the twists and turns that I will maneuver. But at the same time, I don't really want to know what lies ahead. Is this denial or a sense of adventure?
January 27, 2011
Our school is located in a car-free but taxi and bus-full section of Market that is used heavily by cyclists. Just now I saw a former co-worker, Claudia, riding her bike to a client meeting. We have been emailing to set a visit date to catch up because we haven't seen each other in over two years. If I hadn't taken a few minutes to enjoy Market I would never have noticed her toodling along the cross street Hyde on her way to The Mission.
Yes, it is time that I took Ike the Bike out for a ride. He must feel neglected all folded up in a storage closet. To Market we shall go!
January 25, 2011
I am still sick with a sore throat and have lost my voice. To sooth the ache of coughing I purchased some honey. The first lick of that glowing, golden, smooth, magic alixer instantly made me feel better because it was a little love from Grammie.
January 22, 2011
January 21, 2011
January 15, 2011
When I returned the pants to the Alameda Old Navy, just walking into the store I could smell the overall toxicity of the place. The Associate asked me to describe the smell and I said, "why don't you smell them?" He said, "I'm not smelling your pants." Suddenly I felt dirty and angry - they're your stinking pants, not mine. Instead, I just stood calmly and looked at him. He asked me to describe the smell and so I said, "it smells like they've been dipped in chemicals" Fine, was his response and my money was refunded. How could he even possibly smell the toxicity when he's working in a place that is so smelly?
January 14, 2011
As I mentioned earlier this week, I had some stage fright about teaching my courses. The Thursday double-header was giving me the most concern. But in the end, as my Aunt Kendra's sister Nancy said to me via Facebook - "no worries, you'll do great." Yes, I did!
This quarter I definitely feel like I've relaxed into teaching. Advice I received last quarter from my colleagues was, "relax into teaching" and "don't over teach". These were abstract concepts but now I think I'm starting to get what they mean. Instead of me filling the silence and trying to fill students' heads with boundless information, my teaching philosophy this quarter is to "go deep" and "keep it simple" or Keep it Simple Sister as Marlene likes to say. Maybe deep and simple sound like polar opposites, but actually, they work in tandem. Going deep into a topic, instead of trying to teach every little detail, will ensure that my students get the concepts instead of receiving a broad survey of the field. Keeping it simple is the same idea - allowing students to go step-by-step, reinforcing concepts and not trying to bite off more than they can chew. That was my exact advice to several students in yesterday afternoon's Advertising Sales and Ratings course. They were proposing that they invent new businesses and also develop advertising campaigns at the same time. I said, "I want you to be successful and layering so many levels of work into this class could put you into a free-fall in an eleven-week quarter. Let's scope this down." I could see them think about my suggestion and relax into being focused.
Ah yes, practicing and teaching balance.
January 11, 2011
January 10, 2011
The greatest feature of this course, which I designed as a new elective, is that I get to teach my students about non-profits. These are future fashion marketing and management leaders and at least they will have some CSR knowledge when they enter the workforce, and perhaps will be inspired to change the world.
January 9, 2011
To celebrate my final day of stay-cation I'm heading out, in the freezing weather, to have an ice cream sundae at Fenton's. Earlier in the day I took a long hike in the Oakland hills and went to the Oakland Museum of California with Leah to again see the Pixar exhibit, which was so much better the second time around.
Now to get a sugar high so that I can crash and get, hopefully, eight hours of restful sleep.
January 8, 2011
Reflecting back on my Telephone History, I wonder if it was the work I did in high school as a telephone interviewer for my mom's company? After school I would go to her office, hidden away in an ancient, moldy house, and make hundreds of phone calls to strangers to get their opinions on the latest political issues, their entertainment choices and use of products. It required bravery to call number after number, hoping (or perhaps dreading) that people were home and that they would actually want to talk. The secret was to smile when you were talking, people can hear it in your voice.
Growing up, my mom was the super phone talker. She was always on the phone, at work or at home, easily chatting with everyone and anyone. My mom is incredibly friendly and can pick up a conversation and engage a person with her easy-going style and sweet voice. I was always so jealous of her phone and would create distractions while she talked. I was like a lonely cat searching for attention. She would extend the phone cord to its fullest length, all the little curls stretched out, as she sequestered herself in the laundry room to get away from my distractions. On more than one occasion, the phone base pulled off the kitchen wall as she curled around the corner.
So, perhaps my dread of phone calls has a few sources. But it is also that I really do prefer seeing people face-to-face when I'm speaking with them. Pacing a conversation is difficult for me when I only hear a voice. Often I end up talking over someone or rushing to fill the silences when I can only hear their voice.
During this stay-cation I've called numerous friends across the country and have loved connecting. The secret is to allow for the pauses and to be in the moment with however the conversation flows. Saying goodbye is still a challenge. It reminds me of when I use to work for a photographer who, at the end of every personal or professional phone conversation, said goodbye with a crack of his voice as if he were about to cry. Hearing him always broke my heart a little. Saying goodbye is always hard for me too, what if we never speak or see each other again? In the UK people end a phone call with a high-pitched sing-song "goodbye!" That seems like the other extreme. Should I say "take care, talk to you soon, or see you later?" Or perhaps, "you are in my thoughts or I love you" unless of course they are just a telephone interviewer. Actually, they need the warmest regards.
January 5, 2011
Drinking a G+T and about to tuck into some significant nachos. Stay-cation, don't leave me yet.
Between meetings a colleague and I were talking about how we build a theme for each year - clearly, we are business management instructors. Ironically, she too made this the Year of Balance and now we are balance buddies. Listening to her and how she is actually not making room for pursuing her own art, I realized that I have to make time for being creative and social this year.
Talking to my career coach, Bob, in Houston, he suggested that I build an Amy Portfolio composed of three buckets: Personal, Professional, Educational. From there I need to figure out the definition of each bucket and the percentage that I want to invest in each one - with the understanding that they are flexible. As Bob says, "you don't want to cheat on yourself." My inclination is to make these buckets Love, Learn and Create as opposed to the other designations, but there is so much overlap with these categories that I can put anything I do in any of the buckets.
The first step I've taken is to eliminate anything from my life that was only draining and not uplifting. As of December 31, I took big strides in that direction. Next, I've scheduled out my weekly calendar with the classes I'm teaching and designated class prep/grading time. From there I've blocked out Tuesday evenings for taking a ceramics course at Studio One in Oakland - plus I registered! Thursdays are designated group fun activity nights for salsa dancing, hanging out with my cousins at Blush in the Castro, and any other activity that may be of interest.
My schedule is quite fantastic because I have two full days during the week when I am not teaching - allowing me to take on consultancies and coaching clients. Now to make sure I incorporate my EdD Doctoral homework. Mantra: Value my worth. Have to keep reminding myself that if I take something on, something has to go - even if I love meetings.
January 1, 2011
At the Christmas party a woman said to me, "This is going to be the start of a good year for Pisces since the past ten years were bad for us." Interesting, because she didn't even know I was a Pisces. She made me think, "were the past ten years bad?" I wouldn't say that but I certainly would like the next ten to be better.
Today the clerk at CVS said, "This is going to be a better year." When I asked her how she knew, she said, "because all the bad laws are ending." Probing further, I asked why that was and she said, "because bad politicians put bad laws in place and now that we are having changes in the administration, their bad laws leave with them." Well, it didn't make great sense but I liked her thinking.
Last night at the salsa party I was chatting with a woman who wrote a letter to 2010 on NYE. She said it was a letter in which she reminisced about the highs and lows of her relationship with 2010 and now that they are breaking up, with 2011 being her new partner, she wanted to highlight what they had experienced together. I liked this idea. When I shared with her how I set my intentions for 2011 and also that I give each year a theme, she thought that was a spectacular idea. "When people set their intentions, they actually move towards them. That's so smart. Year of Balance, Wow, now that's mature."
So here is my intention - regardless of the Zodiac and our politicians, 2011 is going to be an awesome year because I intend to live to my fullest potential.
Welcome into my life 1-1-11 - I look forward to a relationship where we strive for balance and are driven by love, learning and creativity.