Sheryl Sandberg, TED and Lean In


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Amazingly, I just watched this TED talk this morning – however I am already halfway through Ms. Sandberg’s new book Lean In.  (available on my favorite:  In the attached clip she states three key messages, two of which I love and the third which I think is a bit iffy. Continue reading

Ansel and Clair: Developed and Launched by a Bay Area Mom


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In the attached USA Today review, Ansel and Clair, a series of iPad apps, get great reviews.  These are near and dear to my heart because they were launched by a Bay Area mom, who like many of us has re-invented herself.  She was a New York investment banker who turned entrepreneur while following her heart.  And she did it while introducing child number three into her family’s life!  She shows us that we can have it all after carefully defining what our “all” really is, and it is specific to each of us.   She will be a guest writer in the near future, so stay tuned.    In the mean time, try out these apps on your little Dino lovers!

“Is there life after work”… an essay by Erin Callan, former CFO of Lehman Brothers


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Generally I place articles under “Short Reads”, but I think this one deserves a special place of its own.  The below essay published in the NYT Sunday edition brough tears to my eyes.  There is so much in the media about working mothers and rage over Marissa Mayer and Cheryl Sandburg.  But unlike them, Erin Callan, was not a working mother – she is a working person regardless.   And the whole life experience missed from becoming one with your job is just as devastating, if not more in her case.  I have friends that do not have children and they have incredibly fulfilled lives, and I have those who are so similar to Ms. Callan that it saddens me.

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Anxiety and Success


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Anxiety - Stress ... Time management vital for...

(Photo credit: marsmet481)

This past Sunday I went to church.  And the subject was anxiety.  I have been attending this church for about a year and a half, almost as long as we have lived in this area.  And in this time, my attendance has been spotty so I was particularly surprised that this was the second sermon that focused on anxiety.  I live in a fairly affluent area which my husband and I refer to as Maybury, some days I expect I might just see Barney Fife walking down the street.  Our town and its sister town is full of highly successful people from old and new money – what could anyone here be anxious about?  So my ears perk up, I want to hear this for two reasons: 1) I have dealt with anxiety since I was a small child, 2) clearly my Maybury is full of high achievers also plagued with anxiety.  Anxiety raises cortisol levels and in turn impedes our performance both at work and at home.  It seems like a bad joke, so many people achieve success only to be confronted by their own anxiety that makes it even harder to continue moving forward.

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What’s your Valium?


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Quality time with the kids…

Are you laughing too?  I stopped laughing, I am just too exhausted.  As part of our family discussions surrounding our upcoming move, I promised my son he would be able to have a vacation with his best buddy Leyton, whose mother, Cheryl, is one of my dearest and nuttiest friends (you know the kind who walks in the back of a bar with the band posing as their manager just to avoid the line kind).  The boys and their siblings grew up in California together and just 18 months after we left, Leyton’s family moved to Canada.  Since sleeping at a friend’s house constitutes a vacation to an eight year old, I had the ingenious idea that I would take a road trip with my three munchkins leaving my husband home to continue on his house projects that he so adores.  Ingenious?  NOT.

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Managing through change


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English: Princeton Walkway

English: Princeton Walkway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in the last post, this year is already packed with changes. I have been thinking hard about to help both myself and my children cope with the changes. Changes, no matter how exciting and positive they can be, create anxiety in all of us. Sometimes it’s under the surface and sometimes the anxiety comes out in very outward actions… like the five bags sitting upstairs in my mad dash to redecorate our bedroom, along with the new paint color samples on the wall. To my husband’s relief, everything is being returned and I will only paint the walls. I’ve always thought paint as instant gratification – for under $30 a gallon you can change your world.

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Day 1


It is only January 11th, and this year has already proven to be one of the greatest years of change in my life. How I will handle all of it, I don’t exactly know at this moment. But I am confident that I will and from the changes will emerge new experiences and excitement. I will be better for this year, I am sure of it. It will be up to me to ensure it, only I can only control my actions and my attitude. Day one has been quite comical already, somethings you just can’t make up.

While I am not going to share the exact changes today, I will over time. We can walk through it together, hand in hand, key board in key board. It’s going to be an exciting year!

Have a wonderful Friday, and if you are in the neighborhood, Bar Boudreau is open tonight.

Bullying and Building a Better Web

A great piece on how we can create an example in our every day actions on the web. I have seen things posted by parents that I can’t believe the would want their children to see… and doesn’t it all start with our example?

Josh Stearns

As a parent, I think a lot about the world we are creating for our children. As an advocate for press freedom and digital rights I think a lot about the web we are creating for our children too.

A lot of my work centers around creating more democratic structures and policies that shape our media, and pushing back on the companies that want to assert more and more control over the Internet. But I also think a lot about how the Internet changes the ways we communicate with each other, and thus the ways we relate to each other. When I get sucked into a Twitter fight, see a particularly ugly comment thread, or hear about bullying and harassment online, I wonder what kind of web my kids will inherit from us.

That’s why I was so struck when I read Jeff Jarvis’ blog post “We get the…

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A Sonata For My Friends

A gift from Katrina Anne Willis…

Katrina Anne Willis, Author

The Best Patio in the WorldFriends have been on my mind lately. Not specific friends, but the notion of friendship. The idea of it. I’ve been reading numerous articles about friendship over the past couple of weeks; specifically, female friendships. It’s given me pause, made me think, caused me to reflect.

I’ve been blessed — beyond blessed — to have had an abundance of friends in my life. In grade school, I had my posse, my girls. We were tight, the four of us. We ruled Goff’s skating rink, Brownie meetings, and the Ranger Rick Club. I still vividly remember our late-night sleepovers, sharing soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in Sister Veronica Ann’s classroom, choosing each other first for kickball teams at recess. I rode my bike (my first place prize in a Jim Dandy coloring contest) frantically across town to perfect my roller-skating moves in Kerri’s basement, sailed across Lake Tippecanoe with Anna…

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Roar or Wimper into 2013?


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Happy New Years…are you as tired as I am?

On December 21 I received a text from a very good friend of mine, “OMG…the stress of the new job and the holiday may kill me!” My dear friend, who I mentioned in an earlier post as one of the strongest women I know, recently returned to work after being at home with her two daughters for the past three years. Over the next few days we texted back and forth with holiday stress support notes, if we lived in the same city you may have found us at a local bar, possibly under it. As I read her texts, I felt pretty good about the holidays…. Then it went downhill quickly.

The Friday before Christmas our youngest child came down with the flu, which meant she and I had to miss the day trip to my husband’s family (and for the record, I really did want to go). That Saturday was the first day in I don’t know how many years that I actually spent the entire day at home, and it felt good. We made cookies, we organized, we watched TV, took a long shower… but by Sunday night we were at urgent care getting meds. By Monday morning, the day of our 8th annual Christmas Eve party I had not started any preparations after losing time with my little patient. With some help from my amazing au pair, Julia, we had made quite a bit of progress by 9 a.m. As I am getting dressed I touch base to see how Kanessa is doing… she was hanging in there. She comments on how calm I am given that my house will be full of people in a matter of hours and I need to pick up my mother from the airport. “It’s all good,” I respond.

But it wasn’t’, my mother’s plane had already landed and I was off by an hour! On the way I miss the exit and on the way home I miss the exit again. At this point I feel like a mouse in one of those exercise balls, running, running and getting nowhere. Party goes by, I forget to serve some of the food and as we are cleaning up for the night… down goes Julia, the flu hits her next. On Christmas day, after the 1000 calorie breakfast and gift opening, I am cleaning so that the cleaners can come the next day. You know that concept men just can’t ever get – why do you clean before the cleaners get there? Well, we had a living room with all the gifts just opened by three very greedy but cute children. Then off to dinner at another friend’s house. Wednesday was quite calm I must admit, then Thursday off to Indianapolis to see friends of ours in route to Toronto. As soon as we check into the hotel, my mother realizes she too has the flu. Two days running between friends and hotel to check on mom and we are back on the road home. That night we go out for a birthday dinner for our sweet Julia who is feeling better. Then it hits me… I am down too. One week after the first urgent care visit we are back – they know me there by name. Both my mother and I have bronchitis. I was supposed to visit our lovely niece in Chicago that night before she flew off to L.A. – and I missed her. I would go anywhere to see this sweet girl, and I don’t think I could have pressed the gas pedal to get the 20 miles to the city.

Last night was New Years. We called our neighbors to say we would not be joining them after all. And we all cuddled up on the couch and watched Home Alone 3. And it was the absolute best part of the eleven days since I last went to work. This morning, my husband says, “Last night was a lot of fun”. He’s absolutely right. Delivery pizza and laughing children, I couldn’t agree more.

I suspect that no matter what your holiday plans were, you experienced some sort of roller coaster that resembles mine. And your annual plan of going back to work refreshed is once again a fading dream. In the back and forth between Kanessa and I, when she comments on my ability to handle the ups and downs… my response is not valiant. It’s simple, we cannot control everything that happens, and eventually when you are worn down enough you just stop worrying about it. Clearly my dear Kanessa, you just have too much energy left.

Take a few minutes to look back over the past couple of weeks and remember the really good moments, those moments are the pieces to remember. The uninterrupted slow day with my 5 year old, hearing my kids and their friends in Indianapolis belly laugh, my husband’s 5 a.m. efforts to put together the air hockey table from Santa, the smile of a highschool friend that takes me back in time, my mother’s hugs, realizing my girlfriends biggest concern with moving to Canada is how to get our favorite wines over the boarder (this is why we are friends!), watching Home Alone 3 as a family… the rest is just noise.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint (just ask my husband)and I am not super human. I might just call in sick tomorrow and hole up in a quiet hotel room and sleep for an extra 10 hours. Either way I will remember to put what I really want on my Christmas list to Santa next year, 2 days at a spa between the holidays and returning to work.. While my body is wimpering, my soul is roaring into the new year.

 Happy 2013 to all you mamas that work it!