June 30, 2008
Our Safe Word
David is attempting to entice me to move to their Oakland neighborhood - which use to be my neighborhood too in 2000. We walked to a bakery, had chai and then found an awesome free desk on the way back to their place to meet Rachel who was finishing her work-from-home day. Then we took a road trip up to the Oakland Hills to visit with Rachel's mule named Pippi Longstocking. Wonderful views and amazing animal.
From here I strong armed D&R to visit Alameda to see the beach and of course eat at my favorite sushi place. Luck had it that David just celebrated his birthday so we milked it at the sushi restaurant which goes all out on your birthday.
The real "aha" moment of the day was at the sushi restaurant when D&R asked me what I want to be doing in two years. Yes, the exact question I ask my coaching clients. My response "building social enterprise initiatives in Africa." Whoa... what inner voice said that? I realized, once again, that I'm all about leadership development and that I am motivated to keep my work moving internationally. So, I suggested to D&R that when I get off track, which is my patent panic zone action, they should remind me of my goal by saying my safe word which is "spaghetti" in honor of my mother. That's a whole 'nother story.
Stretching out of your Comfort Zone without Panicking
I illustrate the zones as concentric circles. Comfort zone is in the center, stretch zone is the next circle out and panic zone is the furthest from the core. Here's how to think about each zone..
Living in the central circle, the core, a familiar, comfortable existence, even no taking any risks and perhaps maybe not getting any rewards - it may be comfortable but it may also be safer than stretching, but are you fulfilled? I visualize the comfort zone as being seated and perhaps evening shlumping.
Dewey calls it the breath-taking zone - moving beyond comfort and familiar in your goal setting to a more exciting, fulfilling and breath-taking place. I see this as getting out of that comfort chair and stepping behind it, moving outside that inner circle.
Been there, lived that - the zone in which your goals are so overly ambitious or your situation so overwhelming and far from your comfortable core that you start to panic, shut down and run for your comfort zone.
How do you stay in the stretch without getting stuck too much in comfort and panic? Break down your goals into small accomplishable, controllable steps. Yes, keep that big picture vision and get there by seeing what actions you can take outside of your comfort zone to get you into your stretch zone.
This move to San Francisco is moving between all these zones. I keep saying to myself - you have your whole life to work towards your vision and it takes small steps to get there. I can hide in someone's spare bedroom for forever. I can have ginormous goals that put me into a panic or I can create a personal vision and take stretch zone steps to move in that direction.
June 29, 2008
The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent...
I had a re-orientation day of the City with my friends Nicole, Grant and Raman. We had brunch on the Bay, visited Raman's Frey Norris gallery near Union Square and topped off the evening at the movies seeing Get Smart. Yes, a full day and you really wouldn't expect anything less from Nicole - the ultimate hostess.
Feeling a bit more like I belong here. Tomorrow heading into the East Bay to visit my bud Rachel. Seeing her will really help me feel at home.
Raman made an interesting comment - he said that I would be the only he knows who could help to establish a cutting edge new arts center because I am the only person that everyone likes and respects and knows can get the job done. Hum. Interesting. After a three year absence my reputation seems to be based on diplomacy.
Back in San Francisco
Here's my very simple plan...
First step - get an income
Second step - Decide on living in San Francisco or the East Bay
Third step - Find an apartment
Pre-First Step - Stay calm
Starting the process by reconnecting with friends and cousins.
June 28, 2008
Last Minute Purchase
June 27, 2008
Secret Treasure: Meridian Hill Park
Gross National Happiness (GNH)
NASA is in Texas and the University of Texas at El Paso has a Bhutan Center. Okay, I agree that that was probably not the link the Smithsonian used to bring them all together but I had to make it work somehow.
NASA as folklife is a stretch. Texas is all about folks. But the real interesting one is Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon, which is the world's youngest democracy. It is located between China and India.
Here's some interesting facts from their national promotional literature...
Population: Male: 364,482, Female: 307,943
Local time: Six hours ahead of GMT
State Religion: Mahayana Buddhism (Vajarayana form)
National Tree: Cypress
National Flower: Blue Poppy
National Bird: Raven
National Sport: Archery
National Animal: Takin (Goat-Antelope)
Official Language Dzongkha
Currency: Ngultrum (at par with the Indian Rupee)
Life expectancy: 66 years
Area: 38,394 sq. km
Forest coverage: 72.5%
Bhutan build this temple on the DC Mall as a gift to the American people and it was dedicated on June 25 by Buddhist Monks.
But here's what's really interesting. Their national values and the Gross National Happiness. According to Wikipedia, "The term was coined by Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972 in response to criticism that his economy was growing poorly."
GNH value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following measures:
Economic Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of economic metrics such as consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
Physical Wellness: Indicated via statistical measurement of physical health metrics such as severe illnesses
Mental Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of mental health metrics such as usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
Workplace Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of labor metrics such as jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
Social Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of social metrics such as discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
Political Wellness: Indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of political metrics such as the quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.
How cool is that? I am totally inspired to research this country and visit.
Kayaking on the Potomac
I love kayaking. It struck me as I was getting into the kayak that my love for kayaking started way back when I was 14 or so and attended Anderson Camps for a summer in Gypsum, Colorado. We learned some serious kayaking starting in a pool where it was safe to roll and then on the Green River in Utah where we did a week-long trip.
All that training prepped me for a rather windy, wavy, bumpy ride yesterday in the middle of the Potomac. It was heaven. I only went out for an hour ($10) and that was just enough to cool down from the summer heat and get my water skills up and running.
Visited with some cool ducks hanging out on a rock at Roosevelt Island.
Out there on the water I was reminded of the blog entry I made about the Sleek Yellow Kayak inspiration.
June 26, 2008
Cooking for a Crowd
My sister and brother-in-law Marlene and Mandeep
My brother Matthew and his fiancee Rachel
Rachel's Mom Ann
Matt and Rachel's roommate Tyeliah and her friend Jody
Downstairs neighbor Richard
Here's what I served and the locations with links to posts on my blog which they commemorated
Jerk salmon, catfish, prawns and portobello mushrooms - Jamaica
Spoon corn bread - Maryland
Asian coleslaw - Teaism influenced
Steamed baby artichokes - Virginia
Strawberries with fresh maple/vanilla whipped cream - Virginia & Maine
Marlene also brought mouth-watering pastries that we shared.
What a meal!
June 25, 2008
Meals Make Memories
- Jerk highlights from my Jamaica adventure and wedding caterer tasting with Matthew, Rachel and Ann
- Sandwich assembly party with the Century Bike Ride group
- Giant stir fry to commemorate the world's biggest stir fry I made for mom, dad and grammie in Stamford
- Maine delights from the picnic and bbq with Sharon Dee-Dee and Jamie
- Ice Cream indulgence adventure with Matthew at Marlene's house
- Garrison Keillor Picnic with Rachel, Matthew, Mandeep and Carol
- Tapas with Damon in Philadelphia
- Johnny Rockets with Sam in DC
- Salad extravaganza with Grandma, Aunt Patty and Ben Greenfield in Stamford
- B. Smith southern delights with John in the DC train station
- Hot dog indulgence with Grammie in Stamford
- Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery with Karen and Rachel in Stamford
- Diner dining with Lori and Jessica to sooth poison ivy in Stamford
- Wheat-adventures with Marlene in Virginia
- Fish Tacos at TGIF with Brechin in Philadelphia
- Delectable eats at the Native American museum with Julie and John in DC
- Teaism with Bernie during our bike ride side-track
- Corn bread spood bread at the Hinton birthday extravaganza
- Tacos with Peyton
- Home cooked fancy feasts with Matthew and Rachel in DC
- Scones and tea with Grandma in Greenwich
- Fish cakes at the wedding I photographed with Geneve
- Lebanese Tibernia with Matthew and then again with the Bike Group
Now to do some shopping for tonight's meal.
June 22, 2008
Final Week in DC
Comcast Center Delights and Surprises
Lost & Found
The first morning of the Americans for the Arts Convention here in Philadelphia - Thursday - I noticed that the anklet fell off. Here and there I missed it but wasn't really bothered, It felt like a metaphor for being lost, finding myself and then letting when I re-connected with my fantastic arts network here at the Convention.
This morning I thought that I should at least ask at the Convention registration desk if they have a lost and found. Sure enough, there was my anklet sitting in a glass bowl set off to the site of the registration tables. Putting it back on was so wonderful - a reminder of being lost and found.
Being here with my fantastic network of arts and culture managers has reinforced how supportive I feel in returning home to San Francisco. People not only remembered me but had heard that I was returning, had been reading the blog and were so excited to reconnect when I finally land back in SF on June 28.
Truly lost and found.
June 21, 2008
G = Goal - setting a clear goal
R = Reality - looking at current reality
O = Options - potential paths to reach the goal considering the current reality
W = Will - when you will take the first step and what it will be
People love the simple tool. I frame its use by saying "imagine we're going to meet up in a year at the next convention and we talk about the goal you are setting today. How will you know that you've reached that goal? What will you see? What will you hear? What will be doing? What made you successful.
For me it is that I will be a consultant, using coaching in my practice and making an excellent living.
June 18, 2008
Leading the Life I Want to Live
Consulting nationally and internationally
Spending quality time with friends and family
Traveling and adventuring
Being a photographer
I'm doing all of it! Now to pump up the volume and make some excellent money and I can keep living this lifestyle. I return to San Francisco on June 28 and I know that living in my beloved city I will have the proper base to keep it going.
Americans for the Arts in Philly
Stephen and I attended the Austin convention on our way to finding a house in Houston. I attended the Milwaukee one while living in Houston. Vegas was when I was in London and now Philly is at the tail end of my DC/Virginia respite on my way back to San Francisco.
I'll be blogging on the Americans for the Arts' Art Blog.
Tomorrow I'm presenting a workshop called Personal Evolution: Peer Coaching Circle in partnership with Daniel "Dewey" Schott. Saturday I'm hosting a roundtable discussion called Leading from the Middle of an Organization.
Sunday I'll be supporting my friend Brechin Flournoy as she facilitates her panel discussion called A Foot in Both Worlds about finding career balance between non-profit and corporate interests. One of the panelists is my long lost friend from San Francisco Nancy Hytone Leb now in LA.
Stay tuned for posts from Philly!
June 17, 2008
The machine is called an Art-o-mat and in it are the mini works of 30 or so emerging artists.
Marlene and I pondered all the possible art choices and settled on supporting a pinhole photographer Emily Long. For $5 I now have one of her original pinhole images abandoned shed, southern cook county, il carefully adhered to a block of wood the exact size of a box of cigarettes.
DiverseWorks in Houston, TX has one of these machines but I never made a purchase when I was there. Now when I see these machines I'm going to make a purchase.
Seamless Business Across Time Zones
At the conclusion of our conversation she said, "I look forward to meeting you at tomorrow's session." She giggled delightfully when I told her that I wouldn't see her there because actually I am in DC and my associate Martin would be facilitating the session. "Oh my, what time is it in DC?" When I told her 8am she giggled more.
There are a few reasons I can make this happen. Technology of course is top of the list. I am using Skype's voice over internet for calls to other skype users as well as to phones. Email allows me to arrange meetings and share documents regardless of time zone. And then my ability to speak British English is huge. Because I know the lingo of The Third Sector in the UK and how British people use English I'm able to communicate clearly. Plus, of course, the exotic factor of an American voice and way of thinking keeps me interesting.
June 15, 2008
Barack Obama and Soft Power
Nye is the author of The Powers to Lead (2008) which I haven't read yet but is now on my short list of books to devour.
June 14, 2008
Second Shooter, First Love
I always admired Geneve's aesthetic, technical expertise, relaxed approach and sense of humor. Shooting the wedding with her today was a treat. She absolutely loves her work and you can tell by the way she quickly builds rapport with the wedding couple. She does a fantastic job of documenting the story.
It would be amazing to make a living at photography as Geneve is doing. My challenge is the technical. I don't feel confident about exposures and using a flash. But, I know I could just getter quicker at it by practicing. Geneve, like my other photography friends Sharon and Lori Baden, (also from Ithaca College) tickled my interest with all the nice things they've said about my work. Gosh, maybe I can make photography a reality career.... hum... My dream, since high school, has been to be a full time photographer.
June 13, 2008
What We Want to be When We Grow Up
June 11, 2008
Image of the Day - June 11 2008
June 9, 2008
Photo of the Day
Elizabeth's images are for sale. I'll have to figure out if I can do the same. Sharon encouraged me to pursue professional photography and I respect her opinion as she and I majored in photography together at Ithaca College. It would be a dream come true to be able to be a photographer, consultant and coach - who runs a retreat center on a farm...
Living the Leisure Life in Maine
Sharon, Dee-Dee and Jamie showed me a good time and continuously attempted to entice me to move up to Maine. It was tempting, at least for the summer but I've been to Maine in the winter and that's another story.
We also got girlie and had our nails done at a salon. I went all out and had a French manicure and even had little flowers painted on to one nail on each hand. You can kind of make it out in the photo.
Saturday night we Barbecued with neighbors. Each of us out-did each other with our dishes. Scallops wrapped in bacon, baked garlic, spinach salad with candied pecans, skewered veg, shrimp and chicken and then Dee-Dee's amazing cookie fruit torte. We migrated over to Jim and Kevin's house for marshmallow roasting around the fire pit. Here's Jamie with his wacky hat toasting up some mallows for us.
Sunday Sharon and I walked along a nature trail overlooking the coastline and of course I somehow got poison ivy from our one excursion into the deeper woods to see a pet cemetery. We capped off the weekend with Lobster dinner at a shack out on the water. So scrum-dely-icious.
It would be so amazing to purchase a barn/farm/house for my retreat center dream. Maine is filled with them and many are for sale.
Inspirational Strong Women
I was blown away by how strong they both are in their lives. They know what works for them and what doesn't, have wonderful senses of humor and always time to listen. It reminded me of how important my long-term friendships are for my state of well-being. The same can be said for my friends Karen and Lori in Connecticut. I'm inspired by how all of these women strive for a life-work balance.
June 5, 2008
Heading Further North
Excotic, Eccentric, Free-Spirited Cousin
This morning I went for a walk in my parents' neighborhood and passed the houses of numerous cousins. It is suburbia so people generally aren't out and about but this morning I noticed a tiny little sign that said, "Used Books" on one of the street signs. There in the driveway sat two teenagers with a folding table and chairs and a few used books, maybe 10 total. Very random selection at that.
I pursued their books, which were well chosen library cast-offs and since I was their first customer they offered me a free one of my choice. Good thing since I didn't have any money. After chatting with them briefly about the smell of used library books I said, "I think we're cousins". After exchanges of last names it was clear that we were related this way and that. Very small town conversation.
The guys held on to my book while I completed my walk and when I returned their mom was hanging out of the garage saying, "Amy Kweskin stopped by to say hello?" Then one of the guys said, "Yes, she's here now." This was followed by the obligatory conversation about what I do, "I'm between lives", where I live, "I'm between homes" and why I'm here, "I'm slowly making my way across the country back to San Francisco." The guys were so impressed that I had lived in London and was returning to a cool city like San Francisco. Made me feel like the exotic cousin which is quite an achievement amongst a family of exotic, eccentric, free-spirits like us.
June 3, 2008
Get Carried Away
My Mom and I went to see Sex and the City tonight. She'd never seen any of the series so I got her up to speed in about one minute. So interesting that I could summarize six seasons into a short synopsis. The good thing is that Carrie does the same thing at the start of the film and I must say that I was spot-on with the brief histories.
I don't want to spoil anything about the film. Will just say that it left me very confused about marriage and if women in their late 30s, early 40s can "live life on their own" without marriage or a man. Interesting how strongly I identify with Carrie and feel quite shaken by her experiences.
Check out Carrie Bradshaw's website http://www.carriebradshaw.com/.
Consistency at Home
June 1, 2008
I Left My Heart in San Francisco...
After much soul searching and following my heart I've realized that San Francisco is where I belong. That was where I lived before these three years of adventures through Houston, Connecticut, London and DC. It is where I have been the happiest and now I am going to move back.
So, June 28 open up those golden gates, California here I come! Over the next month I am going to continue my welcome back to America Whistle Stop Tour of the East Coast. Next week in Connecticut and Maine, later in the month in Philly. Then... off to San Francisco via Virgin Atlantic airlines first class. I figured it would be appropriate to have a UK airline take me home.