November 30, 2010

Chair Wreath

Julie's Cafe in Alameda has this amazing wreath of fulI-sized white wooden chairs mounted on the wall.

November 29, 2010

Finally Fentons

Matt and I have been fantasizing about Fentons for his entire visit and tonight we finally made it. Total indulgence in sundaes. What am I going to do when Matt, Rachel and Sam leave tomorrow?

November 27, 2010

The Ultimate Couch Potato Tool

As the Matt-Rachel-Sam holiday visit continues, I am being totally spoiled and have turned into a couch potato. Not only has Matt fixed my favorite mug, making me very happy, he has now added Screen Sharing to my Macbook so that I can access my desktop computer from anywhere in my apartment using the little guy. This has made me so lazy that I now lay on the couch and use my little computer to manipulate my big computer which is 10 feet away.

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

As I continue to read my leadership theory texts (e-books), for the Foundations of Leadership course, I'm finding so many practical applications. A case study about Path-Goal Theory inexplicably explained so much about why I was hired for my first job and was so successful at doing the work.

Few know that I was the Design Center Manager of CopyMat of Salinas when I first moved to California in 1992. Desktop Design was different back then - not many people had PageMaker skills and my self-taught talents were in high demand. What ultimately convinced the Owner to hire me was my waitressing skills - the ability to juggle multiple tasks and think on my feet. 

In this exert from a cast study in Leadership Theory and Practice (Northouse, P.G., 2007, page 140), I find myself better understanding why I was/am the perfect personality type to run a Design Center at a copy store:

Through the years, Daniel has found that employees who work best in desktop publishing are a unique type of person, very different from those who work in duplicating. They are usually quite independent, self-assured, and self-motivated. In supervising them, Daniel gives them a lot of space, is available when they need help, but otherwise leaves them alone.
Daniel likes the role of being the resource person for these employees. For example, if an employee is having difficulty on a customer's project, he willingly joins the employee in troubleshooting the problem. Similarly, if one of the staff is having problems with a software program, Daniel is quick to offer his technical expertise. Because the employees in desktop publishing are self-directed, Daniel spends far less time with them than with those who work in duplicating.

Six Degrees of Separation: Tina Fey and Mark Twin

My comedic hero Tina Fey received the Mark Twain prize for American Humor on November 9, 2010 . Watch her acceptance speech and revel in this woman's scathing beauty.

Watch the full episode. See more Mark Twain Prize.

November 24, 2010

Magic Ear Rub

My little nephew Sam, who was born on my 40th birthday las year, has the cutest habit of rubbing your ear when he is "getting cozy". Today I was reading him a story while were sitting on the couch. He reached back and grabbed my ear, which had an earring in it. This was an unexpected obstacle to his ear rub requirements. He had to get a better look as he searched for a good area to rub and arched his head to look at the options. Eventually he gave up and just pulled my ear as he sucked his thumb.

November 22, 2010

Miracle of the Brother

Having my brother here on a visit is spectacular. He's fixed all my kitchen chairs and the table so that they no longer wobble. Plus, he's repaired my Mac. Rachel is adding value too, she's fixed my lamp. I'm looking for more things that are broken and am even considering breaking some things just to get them improved. The best repair will be if my brother can fix my favorite mug, which I've had since Ithaca, and the handle broke off a few months ago.

November 20, 2010

Di and My Tai

Cousin Diana and I are out at Kona Klub having a drink to celebrate grandmas and babies.

November 19, 2010

Whale Watching Video

Video footage from my whale watching trip this summer with Sanctuary Cruises on Monterey Bay. My brother and I were watching this video simultaneously in DC/CA, as we were exploring activities for his visit next week. Matt said, "Wait! That's you!" Spot me at 6:30 and again around 8:05.
Let's hope for good weather for Matt, Rachel and Sam's visit.

I Believe Oaklanders are the Most Creative People in the World

November 18, 2010

Belly Dance as a Leadership Style

I took my Fashion Marketing and Management Executive Leadership students to meet Carolena at FatChanceBellyDance this afternoon and it was amazing! Carolena gave them insights into the collaborative leadership of American Tribal Style and the students were totally engaged. Plus, they love her studio store with all its jewelry.

I am so impressed by Carolena and my students as they demonstrated their passion and professionalism.

November 17, 2010

Sunnyvale's Secret Culture

I thought Sunnyvale was just soulless shopping malls along Lawrence Expressway. Wrong. There is a secret placed called St. John's Bar and Grill that is the Wednesday Night hot spot. Must be the half-priced burger specials. Haven't tasted the food yet but if you like ice hockey, checkered tablecloths and booths, this is your place.

November 16, 2010

Being Inspirational

Reading Kouzes and Pousner's The Leadership Challenge, I came across this inspirational quote.

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

Well, I've reached another goal this year, going to culinary school, and as an Instructor no less. Starting next quarter I'm teaching career development for the Culinary Institute at the Art Institute of California - San Francisco. The facility is amazing and I so enjoy the other faculty members. Now to get to know the students. My mom has suggested that they can help me develop Amy's Dream Cafe. That's a goal for next year.

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

From my Fairmont hotel room which is the size of my apartment.

Speaking Tweeting @kweskinreport

I just facilitated a panel on audience engagement in the artistic process and we had our audience tweet and text questions to @groupofminds. I'm starting to understand how to twitter thanks to Ron Evans and NAMP.

November 13, 2010

Pool Party

We officially are horrible pool players, but we're having fun! Ah yes, conferences.

Trippy Room

We're transcending in the trippy room at the San Jose Museum of Art. If you never hear from me again, I zoned out and lost myself here...

Dessert fantasy

Speaking My Arts Marketing Language

I'm at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference, this year hosted in San Jose. This is my favorite conference because it blends practical and tactical, plus, I get to see my Arts Marketing peeps from across the country.

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

Listening to Weekend Edition on NPR this morning, as I do every Saturday before yoga, I heard an interview with Jorge Navarro, the Cuban Cowboy, whose music melds Spanglish stories of family, history and mystery. This guy has humor, smarts and rhythm. Check out this video bio.

November 12, 2010

Stopped Dragging My Heart Around

While driving home to Oakland from my school in Sunnyvale this past Wednesday I had a moment of panic. It was a familiar feeling that I haven't had in over two years - one of anxiety. It felt like I couldn't stay on the road and I was going to crash. Thankfully, the feeling passed after a minute. What I was left with was the sense of having some kind of premonition - not something I can describe but my intuition was pulsating.

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.

New Color!

You Too Can Change the Colors...

..On this interactive public art piece in downtown San Jose. Visit this link

November 11, 2010

Day of the Dead Lunch Bag

Here's my lunch bag which I bought when neighbor Matt and I went to Mission San Juan Bautista a few weekends ago.

Fashionista Photo

A fashion student just got on the elevator with me and said, "I approve of your jacket, I'm in love." Wow, I take that as a huge OK on my wardrobe. A staff member at school took this shot of me and she agrees that I "look very cute." Now someone has complimented me on my 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

As I plunge into my EdD in Organizational Leadership studies I'm like a sponge absorbing information. We're using e-books which makes highlighting so much easier and I'm finding myself underlining big chunks of our first text: Leadership: Theory and Practice (fifth edition) by Peter G. Northouse.

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

Meeting a friend for Monday night drinks at Marc 49 on Telegraph in Oakland - the Temescal District. I've lived six blocks from this area for over a year now and this is only my second time hanging in hip Temescal. The entire block smells like garlic from all these yummy restaurants.

November 7, 2010

November 5, 2010

Mechanized Hula Dancer

Here she is in her full glory at Oakland's Kona Club.

Kona Club Girls Hangout

Friday night and I have another date with myself. This one is at the Kona Club, a bar at the end of my street that thrives on silly. Actually, it seems to be mostly women here at this early hour. Are they all on a date?

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

Ever have one of those days when people look at you and say, "what are you trying to teach me?" Now consider facing that question for four hours with eleven faces looking at you saying, "huh?" That was my class this morning. I wasn't getting my point across and the students were very confused.

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?

For yesterday's California election I worked a 16 hour shift as the Inspector out my Oakland polling location. My team of five was extraordinary considering that we never previously met and had barely any training. Thankfully I had an experienced co-worker who helped me run the show and trained me in real-time.

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?