I took a walk to the Oakland rose garden to gather my thoughts for the coming year and to set my intentions. At first I was going to set goals but intentions are so much more inspirational and less business-speak. From all our rain the plants are in bloom and I found a lovely clover as my inspiration. Have you ever noticed that clover leaves are hearts? I picked one and used it as my inspiration framing. Then I sketched it on a 3x5 card and in each heart I wrote a core value - love, learn and create. I then wrote out my intentions. Along the walk back to my house I picked up beautiful leaves and was greeted my favorite cat Lowkei when I arrived at my street. He kissed all the leaves for me. Once home, I arranged the leaves, my clover and my Year of Balance values and intentions under the glass of my new coffee table. So many lovely touchstones.
December 31, 2010
December 30, 2010
December 29, 2010
Skype Video Family
Spirit of the Holidays
December 28, 2010
Saturday on Tuesday
December 27, 2010
December 26, 2010
Shopping cart christmas tree
Blackberry is going wonky when I type capital letters, so that's why lowercase in the post title.
Blackberry Trying to Live
December 25, 2010
All Washed Up
In the rain ordeal my blackberry got drenched and some of the keys aren't working. I can see I have a text message, probably the most important message of my life, if that is possible, but I can't log-in to my blackberry because C keeps typing as an H and it is asking me to type in blackberry to get into the phone. The irony.
December 22, 2010
Michael and Jason
This is No Picknick!
December 21, 2010
December 20, 2010
Tomorrow is reflexology and a massage. Heavenly
Doing the Happy Dance
Stay-cation Has Begun!
December 19, 2010
Julia Morgan's Berkeley City Club
Amy Drive, Oakland
View Larger Map
December 18, 2010
Jim Kweskin on Stage
Namaste Old Alameda Yoga Station
The Final Run
I realized that yesterday I only spoke out loud twice but had numerous conversations - all by email. Calgon take me away! I am so ready for a three week holiday and being able to breath easily, literally.
December 15, 2010
Killing My Lobster Captures Oakland
Bravo KLM for using YouTube to showcase your work.
December 14, 2010
World's Biggest Box of Chocolate
December 11, 2010
Sam Being a Kweskin
December 10, 2010
Snow in Falls Church
December 9, 2010
The Intimate Patdown
The woman who performed my patdown explained it all in advance and as she was touching me, in very intimate places. But frankly, it was like being at yoga. I didn't mind. It was even a bit like having a massage. Heck, if I have a choice I'm going for intimate human contact - for free. Didn't even cost me to get felt up, down and around. I feel like I made a new friend.
No Appointment, No Disappointment
On the other hand, if you just appreciate the interactions you have with people, and do not build a load of expectations around that relationship, you can actually enjoy the reality of what that person has to offer and be present with your interactions.
I was chatting with a colleague today about this idea, in regards to student performance, and he said he once studied under a guru whose mantra was, "no appointment, no disappointment." Of course we have standards and goals that we help students strive to meet, but we take what they give us and coach them to reach their fullest potential. If we expected only A's then we would only be disconnected from the learning process which is all about learning from mistakes. My only disappointment with students is when they give up.
As I thought about this idea of disappointment as it relates to my personal relationships, I realized that sometimes I compromise who I really am because I don't want to be disappointed by "scaring people away." This makes me unhappy because I am disappointing myself as I compromise to live out some unspoken scenario I hope the other person has received via ESP. Stories get built on stories and then I'm living in this shattered fantasy world because I was not being true to myself.
When am I most myself? When I'm dancing and expressing myself freely. I am myself when I go on adventures with friends and explore new places, openly interact with people to understand their inspirations and often end up buying their artwork. I am least myself when I sit quietly, with my arms and legs pulled in, trying to make myself smaller so that I can ensure that my imagined relationship scenario will not be derailed.
This week I broke out of this hide-away habit. With a variety of people I expressed who I really am. I spoke up, stated my interests and needs, danced, and ultimately felt happy, relaxed and alive. In fact, so much disappointment has disappeared because I have less expectations of others. Whatever they have to give me, I'll experience it, respond to it, go with it and question it - instead of hiding behind a shadow of who I am.
Frankly, I have no expectations of the people who are my closest family and friends. We flow in and out of each other's lives. Sometimes a month can go by and we do not make contact. But, I know they love me and are there for me. The expectation I do have is that they have open hearts, make time for me when I need them and that I do the exact same for them, on both counts.
We don't need an appointment.
December 8, 2010
Fashionistas of the Future
December 7, 2010
December 6, 2010
Balance is a Practice
I still feel like I'm finding balance in and for myself. "Ruin is the road to transformation" and I feel like I'm still on that road. With that, I am learning, that I must love and forgive myself and that "the only way to heal is to trust."
Every day is challenging and sometimes lonely. I hide away and keep to myself, but I am healing and I am learning to trust and to love who I am. Yes, I am in finding balance. Gosh, its been a long time.
Balance is a practice.
December 5, 2010
Eileen, Diana's housemate, created a CD of Chanukah music for part of her grab bag gift. It was a fantastic mix of modern songs, many of which were quite danceable. We created our own little dance club in the living room and got jiggy with Chanukah cheer. The best song was about making latkes and I spontaneously created a dance that involved all the steps in making latkes, applesauce, serving and clearing the dishes and washing the plates. While I was dancing everyone sat down on the couches that surrounded the dance space and began egging me on. Being a true extrovert, I eventually had a groove going with scooping the latke mixture into the frying pan, shaking the plan, flipping it to make the latkes over in the air (I can do that in real life), removing each latke with a spatella onto a plate and then placing the plate in the oven to stay warm, closing the oven door with a swoosh of my hip. All of this while my feet were dancing, hips and shoulders swaying to the music. It must have been quite a show because everyone asked me to do it all again as we replayed the song.
What I liked best was that I felt free to express myself with movement. Dancing and cooking and smiling felt so good. When I think about the times I have feel the most happy, it is when I am dancing and cooking - in a groove, surrounded by great friends.
November 30, 2010
November 29, 2010
November 28, 2010
Meeting of the Minds
No Texting in Pixar Exhibit?
November 27, 2010
The Ultimate Couch Potato Tool
Matt and Rachel have bought me a giant bottle of Gin so that I can mix my favorite Gin and Tonic drinks. Now if I can just get the fridge a few feet closer, or teach the big computer to mix the drinks, I would be set for life with endless entertainment. Would you say my siblings are enablers?
November 26, 2010
Reflecting on My First California Job: Design Center Manager
Six Degrees of Separation: Tina Fey and Mark Twin
November 25, 2010
Amy and Sam
November 24, 2010
Magic Ear Rub
November 23, 2010
Photo of Matt and Sam
November 22, 2010
Miracle of the Brother
November 20, 2010
Di and My Tai
November 19, 2010
Whale Watching Video
Let's hope for good weather for Matt, Rachel and Sam's visit.
November 18, 2010
Belly Dance as a Leadership Style
I am so impressed by Carolena and my students as they demonstrated their passion and professionalism.
November 17, 2010
Sunnyvale's Secret Culture
November 16, 2010
If you're going to lead, you have to recognize that your enthusiasm and expressiveness are among your strongest allies in your efforts to generate commitment in your constituents. By using symbolic language, creating word images of the future, practicing a positive communication style, tapping into verbal and nonverbal expressiveness, and speaking from the heart, you breathe life (the literal definition of the word inspire) into a vision. (page 144).
Before completing reading the quote I jotted down on a piece of paper, "Year of Being Inspirational" as I contemplate my theme for 2011. Learning that Inspire means "to breathe life" convinced me that this will be next year's theme. Eager to welcome the Year of Being Inspirational!
November 15, 2010
Teaching in Culinary Arts Department
November 16 update from my father: he was actually the one who suggested that I have the students create the Amy's Dream Cafe business plan. It will be my mother who will be making the food :)
November 14, 2010
San Jose View
Speaking Tweeting @kweskinreport
November 13, 2010
Speaking My Arts Marketing Language
Now that I'm teaching a variety of marketing, advertising, Public Relations and promotions classes at the Art Institute of California the conference sessions are taking on a deeper meaning. The statistics and analysis we are sharing is golden for my classroom instruction.
Now to find my hotel roommate Brechin - we love attending these conferences together.
Cuban Cowboy es Mucho Loco
November 12, 2010
Stopped Dragging My Heart Around
That night I had interesting dreams, as I always due, however, one dream woke me up at 3:48am and I felt literally awakened - like coming out of a cloud. Suddenly a sadness I had been carrying with me for a while had clarity - no longer was it a feeling but rather logic. It was like my mind opened up and I could see the big picture. Since that awakening, I have felt so much happier, relaxed, certain, confident, and people having been saying that I am beautiful.
Ultimately, I realized that I attach my heart to people who are so needy and then I get hurt because it is not me who they need. Actually, having my heart open and sensitive in that way is more than hurtful when these people are unavailable - it is like dragging my heart around behind a crazy motorcycle or a drunken sailor. The clarity I am experiencing is having broken away from some of these relationships. Now my heart is nestled in me and not extended to hurtful people. Perhaps this is love and compassion for me.
You Too Can Change the Colors...
November 11, 2010
Day of the Dead Lunch Bag
Credit for the jacket goes to my sister-in-law Rachel show spotted it in a Gap clearance and insisted that I try it on.
November 9, 2010
The Big Five in Leadership
You may be as surprised as I was by the first characteristic on the list of Five-Factor Personality Model and Leadership.
The tendency to be depressed, anxious, insecure, vulnerable, and hostile
The tendency to be sociable and assertive and to have positive energy
The tendency to be informed, creative, insightful, and curious
The tendency to be accepting, conforming, trusting, and nurturing
The tendency to be thorough, organized, controlled, dependable, and decisive
The text states, "Specifically, in their study (Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 765–78), extraversion was the factor most strongly associated with leadership. It is the most important trait of effective leaders. Extraversion was followed, in order, by conscientiousness, openness, and low neuroticism. The last factor, agreeableness, was found to be only weakly associated with leadership."
November 8, 2010
Wine at Marc 49
November 7, 2010
Obamas Boogies in India
November 6, 2010
November 5, 2010
Mechanized Hula Dancer
Kona Club Girls Hangout
The florist across the street just dropped off flowers for a customer to pickup at the bar. We all thought they were for us.
I've only been to this place a few times and each visit has been memorable, not just because they have a mechanized hoola dancer.
November 4, 2010
Learning to Lead
Ultimately, I needed to present the content in a different way and it took all class for me to get the students where they needed to be. I never gave up but it was challenging for everyone in the room.
After class I was feeling crestfallen. Was I not doing a good job? To clear my head I went down to the UN Plaza for some sunshine and noticed that the weekly art fair was in full swing. A poet was writing spontaneous prose for $1 and I commissioned a piece inspired by the question, "How do you know when you are doing good work?" Here is what poet Pam wrote:
Good work is different than good works
True work comes from the soul,
the angels call that art,
but they spoke it in a long forgotten language
the one we forgot how to read
none of the children scribble it in coloring books
Don't forget you are doing art
making an experience uniquely yours
to whisper to the stars in the pantheon.
Amazing that Pam's poem so totally spoke to my situation. When she was done I told her how I am a teacher at the art school and that her poem lifted my spirits. Pam was totally jazzed.
After lunch I headed back to school to teach my next class which is in the same room as the previous course with many of the same students. I shared with them that I was feeling frustrated by the last class, not because of them but because we weren't connecting and I was feeling like I wasn't doing great work today. They all said, "awhhhh" and that they were sorry. Then I read them Pam's poem and they too thought it was amazing.
The rest of class was wonderful as they made team presentations on leadership. Last week they shared with me leaders whom they admire and I listened to why they felt that one of my teaching colleagues was an inspirational leader. It was because she treated them like adults and told them about real life situations. I took this to heart and took a chance to open up to them. In return they offered amazing support and demonstrated that they really are learning to lead.
November 3, 2010
Oaklanders - when will we remove this chip from our shoulder?
In 2004 I also managed a polling location, that time in Oakland's Fruitvale District. It was exhausting and I must have forgotten because yesterday was the same. However, I did meet many of my neighbors and people were grateful for our team's hard work.
What was surprising throughout the day, was that people told me they were not voting for Oakland Mayor. I never asked why but o had to wonder. Was it that there were 10 candidates and people couldn't differentiate? Or, was it confusion over our new Ranked Choice Voting system? Of more concern, is it that people are disillusioned or disinterested in who runs Oakland and how they do it?
Oaklanders, when will we remove this chip from our shoulder?
October 31, 2010
Essence of Amo
This statement is exactly what I've been thinking about and exploring for the past year. It blends perfectly with what my cousin Diana recently said, "you have to know from what distance to love someone."
I take both of these thoughts to heart, recognizing that people move in various orbits of friendship around me. The distance factor is dynamic - ever changing depending on what is going on in our lives. For some friendships the distance never diminishes from my heart center and for others I have to love them at arm's length. Then there are those rare folks who appear in my life and I am instantly heart-to-heart with them, literally and figuratively.
The greatest challenge for me are romantic relationships because I open my heart, shortening the distance. Repairing my heart, when it is over, is a long process because now there is an absence of a presence, a space that I must let close again. Does the other person experience this too, I wonder?
Sometimes I wish that I wouldn't allow this opening to happen, that I wouldn't let a romantic friendship reach my heart. It is so easily close to love. But, that would be a denial of the Essence of Amy. After all, Amy comes from the Latin word, Amo meaning I Love.
October 29, 2010
Mondo's Gift for Inspiration
October 25, 2010
Dare I Say, Routine?
Now Hisun and I have our weekend Project Runway viewing party, which thankfully turned into sake indulgence last week. Plus, Leah and I are working up to a Tuesday-weekly-sunrise hike in the Oakland Hills. Of course I also have my Saturday morning yoga with Nancy Leigh-Smith at Alameda Yoga Station.
All this commitment is starting to resemble a weekly routine. How unfamiliar and a bit worrying - next thing I'll join a book club or start playing bridge.