Tuesday, May 04, 2010

About Me

I feel like I've lived many different lives, within this one life. I guess that's what the 20's are all about. I am fully blessed to live where I do, have a man and dogs who love me and a great job.

Here's the cheesy stuff. I love the smell of the ocean in the early morning before the sun comes up. I love to do yoga on top of mountain tops, to run and then run some more. Soccer completes me. I love to swim in lakes, and love to go anywhere with my dogs. I love to take photographs and think back to the days of darkrooms. I love to watch the moon waxing and waning.

I don't follow recipes because I'm an estimator - which makes me a horrible baker. I thrive on the next challenge. I need to, or I feel like I'm standing still. I am a perfectionist. I love the use of good fonts and get irritated by the misuse of bad fonts. I am terrified of natural disasters. I hate to be startled, and startle very easily.

I claim to be a retired triathlete - like I was ever good enough to publicly retire. I will run another 26.2... eventually. I love to read the HBR, maybe because it makes me nostalgic for grad school.

I love to watch Sammy play music in his underwear. I love to see the dogs roll in the sand. I love a good massage. I am addicted to CSI Miami, after fully exhausting Law and Order SVU. I watch more TV than I'd like to. I love comedies.

I'm a scorpio woman, which scares some and challenges others. I watch workout videos before I do them. People think my boy dogs are girls, particularly Tay. I've been vegan and everything in between.

I'm an introvert, self-disciplined into an extrovert. I wish on shooting stars, the same wish every time. I love to travel, and love even more to come home. Nobody gets me like my family. I love them more than too much to be true.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Update on Life

It's been a long time since I've written, months in fact. It feels a little weird. The MBA program whizzed by and I shot out the other end pretty lucky! I was able to find an awesome company, amazing staff and great job that really plays to my strengths. I moved out of my studio, after months and months of dissonance about it, and with warnings from some of my most loyal supporters... and they were right. The situation I entered was not good and after it fell apart, it ended up with me staying with Sam and living sort of out of my car/storage unit for 6 weeks or so. Finding a place to live with dogs in SLO was harder for me than a job!

Anyway, after the patch of rough living situations - a bit of a stressful time, Sam and I found an amazing house (maybe too big) but that's TBD. The dogs are really happy with both of us around full time and we're near a few parks and running trails. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there is much I am thankful for this year. I have an amazing man, great dogs, a great family, awesome job and an overall great life.

I'm a bit torn as to whether or not I'm ready to teach yoga again, and if so, where? This being such a small town, my actions will have reactions from others I'm sure. Also, do I even have the time/mental capacity/emotional capacity right now? I've really liked only having one job... and I've struggled even to balance just the one... I need time to think about it. There's also a local teacher training I'd love to take but that'd require a week off of work, 3 day weekends 1/month for 8 months and 3K. Lots to think about.

Life is good :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Closing Entry for Chindia Trip

The effects of the trip to India and China may take years to fully set in. I’ve learned a lot so far and will continue to learn as my overseas experiences are made more relevant in my daily life.

Related to the Cal Poly MBA Program
There were a few teachers I thought about on this incredible journey. The first that comes to mind is Dr. Peach, our Negotiations professor. He did an amazing job throughout spring quarter re-creating negotiation situations in the classroom, but arriving in these two countries was a negotiators dream. Each vendor you approach or even walk by will take interest in you. I’ve realized there are two ways to approach these situations:

1. Try to browse the merchandise as we would in the states, even though they are barking at you “hey lady, hey lady, have a look, look for free, tell your friends, you come back, you like this?”
2. OR… look them in the eyes, say “ni hao” and ask questions if you are interested in a product.

The first few times approaching rows of vendors, I tried the first approach. I have an overly sensitive personality at times, especially to light and noise. The shouting would most often end in me walking away with no merchandise, which was fine… until I realized I hadn’t purchased anything and had seen others buy cheap yet interesting things. I tried negotiations the second style after a good rest and cup of coffee, with much more luck. However, it is almost impossible to tell whether you have really gotten the best price unless comparing to others with the same purchase. Dr. Peach’s advice holds true again, if you are happy with your purchase and the price you paid, it was a successful negotiation. Many of us would compare the prices we’d received after the negotiation, some satisfied, some disappointed. After a while, if someone overpaid, we stopped telling each other, letting the purchaser enjoy their item without regret. In general, salesmen and women were friendlier to women than to men. One man in our group even had a bruised arm from attempting to walk away from a negotiation. A good tactic I learned this trip that Dr. Peach did not teach us was to find someone who had already negotiated down the price of an item I too wished to buy, and to use that as a purchase price. Most often it worked flawlessly and allowed for very quick and easy purchase.

Also in my head was Dr. Whitaker, our Communication teacher. He has been with me for most of the year, as the information and intensity he brought to our class of MBAs was the most relevant and potent information dose I’ve had, maybe ever. I will read anything he writes or watch any speech or presentation he gives (same goes for Dr. Anderson). I am also convinced that Dr. Whitaker’s influence at the start of our coursework is a contributing factor to our group being so synergistic, adaptable and cooperative. He made us a team, solidified all of our intentions into one common goal, to learn as much as we could from our teachers and each other and to act as a team. He emphasized, we were not in competition with one another. His information was helpful, not only in carrying oneself in a business meeting, or communicating clearly, but also on how much luggage to bring, where to put priorities and the advice to “travel until it hurts” meaning, even when you’re tired, just keep going. There were many days I had to either double caffeinate or keep telling myself to just keep going, even at exhaustion.

Dr. Olsen’s Lean class could have been taught in the Maruti Suzuki factory in India… I mean, really. In India, at the MET, the students there said their Accounting and Finance professors would have them memorize 200 balance sheets at a time. And I thought we had it bad! I realized at MET that although that particular college is on the other half of the world, the students are learning from the same events in time, similar books and teachers, and following our culture and politics better than many of us are.

Striking Business Practices
In India, the hospitality. The people in India could have been said to be overly hospitable at times, hovering over the dinner table to make sure you have everything; I mean everything you could possibly need. They took great care of us at company visits, water, treats, welcome banners, smiles, hospitality… it was amazing, and I have a new standard for visitors now. It reflects back on their company so well; and leaves an amazingly positive impression. The only company in India who left us without water for several hours, or snacks (even though we had to skip lunch for time constraints that day) was American Express. Hmmm, the one American company we visited.

In China, their meticulous attention to detail. India’s buildings always looked unfinished; there were pieces of signs missing, unfinished streets nearby, desks that didn’t exactly line up flush. In China, things were immaculate, high tech, efficient, finished. I attributed this to the respective wealth levels of the countries. India has done great things with the resources it has. China, with more resources, has done at least better looking things. The work ethic in China is a practice worth considering. Employees work well over 40 hours per week, sometimes 60+ hours is standard. For business, this makes for more productive businesses, however, on a personal level, this much work could lead to personal imbalance and burnout. When talking to students about classroom behavior, they were appalled that we could speak freely in class, get up when need be, ask questions and collaborate in the classroom setting. Their way is very different; a practice I don’t see well suited for westerners. They also do not live in a democratic society, clearly.

To Live Abroad?
I think the answer to this question depends on the destination. I do not have the flexibility to live in China… the culture is SO very different, the food I dislike 90% of and the fast pace leaves my head spinning, still trying to figure out the language barrier. Daily comforts are more important to me than seizing a business opportunity in China.

India, I would be more open and adaptable to, and I could easily be romanced by the yogic influence and history. However, the smells and raw sewage are a hard aspect to acclimate to. Depending on the exact location, India could be a fit for me, but I am less interested in business in India and more so in health. A really hard part, particularly in China was the language barrier. Maybe too egotistically, I expected China to have a greater percentage of English speaking individuals. It was only on the last night, at English Corner, where I actually had an intelligent conversation with locals. It would be an easier transition to live abroad in an English speaking country. I have several years of Spanish education that would allow me comfort in Spanish (maybe even Italian and French) speaking countries. Another option would be to partner with a person who speaks both English and the country’s native language, making that transition easier… but again, I don’t have the drive to give up certain luxuries and take on other stressors.

My Comfort Zone
I was forced out of my comfort zone a bit, but not as much as I assumed I would be. Traveling around in air-conditioned busses was a great luxury in both countries. Without this luxury, we would not have been able to think straight though, as our bodies were not prepared for 100+ degree temperatures… sometimes 110+. My ankles were double their size for the first week in India… that was hard for me to adjust to and to stay motivated and focused through. The sewage and smells in India were hard to adjust to… and the begging. The beggars were hard in both countries to handle, but thinking back, we have beggars in the U.S. The only difference seemed to be that these people were very young, with disabilities (either at birth or given to them) and women with small children. Typically we see in SLO older people who look as if they’ve given up on life, and its just easier to beg. It’s a different dynamic. Overall, I feel like I adapted much better than expected, which I attribute a lot to both the trip leaders and our fellow students. Our classmates this year were awesome. We had so much fun dancing, singing, karaoke, etc. making the long hard days worthwhile and light.

Learning About Myself
I’ve been a bit timid in large cities always. I don’t like traffic, I don’t like driving, I don’t like crowds of people. I learned on this trip that in any situation, things can be altered and tailored to individual interests. I felt a lot more comfortable in large cities than I have in the past, maybe because I was not driving. I felt 100% comfortable taking public transportation and taxis or auto rickshaws, and trusted their ability to take me to my destination smoothly. I also learned that even on the other side of the world I’m a morning person, that much I can’t change. I learned that I need more personal time than most, perhaps to reflect and to ground myself mentally. Others were able to go all day and then all night… I needed to decompress more than most at night.

At English Corner, where Chinese people go to speak English, I learned that people want to learn about the United States, well, certain people. While talking to individuals, I learned that I am now an educated person, not in one field, but in two fields, in both health and business. This accomplishment has been huge for me, for my confidence levels and what I now feel capable doing in life and in the world. I also learned (on a personal level) that the world goes on without me when I leave for a while… not to say I’m not missed, but I realized that maybe on a daily basis, I take on too much, or more than I need to. Everything works out and gets done both at work and in my personal life when I disappear for a while… a practice I may indulge in a bit more frequently.

Cultural Differences
There were many.
1. The ego of Americans and consumption levels vs. polar opposite India. China reflected the U.S. more so than India in this regard.
2. Indian hospitality, which was amazingly superior to both other cultures.
3. Language, dress, and food… commonalities, but all different.
4. The number of expats. In the U.S., we have a melting pot of different people from different countries. For the most part in China and India, there were very few ex-patriots.
5. In India, (and a little in China) people will do anything for money, and expect money when they do anything. For instance, when you take your photo with someone, they will expect money afterwards. When we came across a monkey keeper and took photos in India, he knocked on our bus for 20 minutes to try and collect payment. In the U.S. we don’t see this.

For me, China means…
Growth. The Chinese are in an ultra growth mindset. The poor economy may have slowed this down a bit, but it’s still on the forefront of their minds. How to grow strong and fast. China also means Communism. It’s a very different approach to government. It has its strengths and its weaknesses just like a democracy though.

For me, India means…
Hope. Indian people are happy, they are grounded, they are centered, they are free from excess ego. I’m generalizing. What I loved about India is that I saw, first hand, a society that attempts to follow yogic philosophy, and how peaceful that turns out to be. India also means entrepreneurship and opportunity, especially for the youth. In the U.S., it is very hard to be young and successful in larger companies. India has a large and motivated youth population with a great education level.

What surprised me most about China
The fact that people didn’t speak English. Their love of Michael Jackson and Bruce Lee. That some of Pink Floyd The Wall’s songs were cut out of records. How there are seemingly 5 employees to every one customer, doing pretty much nothing.

What surprised me most about India
The happiness in the slums. The filth. The proximity of filth and thriving businesses.

In its totality, I loved this adventure to China and India. I have learned so much about myself, my capabilities and handicaps. I have learned so much about two very different cultures and how to survive in their business worlds. I have learned what it would entail to send an employee to either country and barriers to entering both markets. As previously stated, it will take me years to unravel what I’ve just learned. I’m looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

the little engine that could.

I went to my last graduate school class today. The last week or so has been getting harder to focus at school, knowing that graduation is just around the corner. I still cannot believe that I started this program less than a year ago, and here I am almost to the finish line. It's been a tough year though, to say the least.

I have all the signs of chronic overstudying: tight neck, sore upper back, low back hurts from sitting so much. Forearms tight from typing. I'm strategically planning when I should get a massage a chiropractic to wipe some of this away before departing on my journey.

India, China, then Thailand. I'm super excited.

So now I have 3 take home finals, 1 in class final, a book review and then I'm done. I'm going to try and get it all done asap so I can prepare for Chindialand and graduation. All the finals are gnarly... all of them.

I am so close I can taste it. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Wow. I finally went to yoga this morning and I felt like a fish out of water, at first. It's been about 3 months since I've practiced with anyone else, or for more than 20 minutes. My body ached, I felt nerve pain in my back and shoulder nearly the entire time, but I knew that what I was doing was good. I was resetting my energy levels, I was sending new signals to my muscles. I reached a state of complete relaxation.

Life is hard right now... it really is. It's great, and I'm having an amazing time, but it's hard. I'm busy, and tired, and stressed... I go from 5 or 7AM to 6 or 10PM, every day.

I've pondered recently whether or not to move out of my house, again. I sometimes think it'll work, and other times remember how many bad (and good) roommates I've had. I love living alone, I love the solitude, my own sacred space, my beautiful feminine things. I just don't like my huge rent bill each month, that's all.

So, I plan to stay, and to root myself into my space, to thrive here, to grow here, to work here.

Yoga is my clarity, it allows me to feel and sense and cry. All too often I push my emotion deeper and deeper inside because I don't want to appear weak, to myself or to others. But in reality, we're all weak... we all cry. It's OK.

My shoulder started feeling better when I started breathing more deeply and fluidly, testing and pushing my chest capacity. Within a day, the nerves took a break from seething.

So, Saturday: laundry, plants, chores, homework, dogs and work tonight. It's funny how those simple chores in life can make the mind feel so much better. I love the weekends... and I love yoga.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Body Breaking

I'm falling apart. Emotionally I'm keeping everything together, but physically, my body hurts! I rolled my ankle a few weeks ago which is slowly healing, some days it feels great, some days it hurts. Then I pinched that same nerve in my shoulder I've pinched a few times before which is the worst pain I think I've felt. It burns up and down the neck and shoulders and doesn't stop, even why I sleep. Then, after working a long shift, I bruised the ball of my left foot, the kind that's sensitive to putting any pressure on. Oh and yesterday, I threw the "chuck it" so many times my forearm was torn up by the evening. So to recap... right ankle, left shoulder and neck, left ball of the foot and right forearm. Aaaaarrrrgggghh. If only life could slow down for injuries!

Other than that, life is great, I'm really happy and excited about finishing school and the trip to China and India. I just have to figure out how to put my body back together.

On a lighter note, Duke is fully vaccinated, so this weekend we went to the park a handful of times, to Besty's and to the beach :) He's not quite sure of the ocean yet, but I have no doubt he'll warm up to it after the excitement of running free with other dogs wares off.

Maybe this is all just pointing me back to my yoga practice? After these next two months, I'm going to hang on the beach for a week and do nothing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Almost there....

Day 2, week 4. 54 more days until graduation and I'm beginning to salivate. The reality of being done is coming more clear every day. I know I will miss this though. The group of peers interested in the same information, motivated beyond belief. The laughter, the friendships... part of me regrets not being more social in this grad program, but being a home body once the sun goes down has always been my story.

I'm excited to explore possibilities working here on the central coast, whether for myself or someone else. I would love to mix my two worlds that have lived so separately... the world of wellness and the world of business.

It's 6AM and I'm sipping on my coffee, not wanting to study for my noon test. If I stall long enough, the sun will be up and it will be time to run the dogs. Or I could get some other homework out of the way, or study for tomorrow's exam? In this 70-85 degree weather, I can't help but to smile. Sam and I went away last weekend and I was able to take a really deep breath... to kind of put into perspective the things in life that have been troubling me... they are just stressors, and I've chosen them all.

I applied for this program less than a year ago, and I'm almost done with it. That's amazing. A year ago I was sitting at my desk at City Hall wondering where and what would make me happier than sitting in that office.

I've always known I wasn't one for stagnation, and getting unstuck was the best thing for me. As a whole, I've been much happier... so now to plan the next move.