Friday, August 20, 2010


I'm a huge fan of mentors. Find someone you want to be like, talk to them, study them, take the best parts and try to emulate their brilliance. Sometimes you even get a free lunch out of the deal.

I've done this for years and the jems of wisdom and humanity that my mentors have shown me has improved my professional life, and more importantly, they often changed the way I think about my work and about my world in a way that trainings and workshops just can't.

They've always been older, wiser, and way cooler than I am. I have been so lucky that they have humored me enough to spend their time with me.

But as I left San Diego a few weeks ago, I realized the neat hierarchy I have placed on my mentor-mentee roles was turned upside down. I found myself at farewell lunches looking across the table from people who were hip, young and extremely dedicated. People who a few years ago were students, interns, or trying to get jobs. And in the past few years I have seen them transform themselves and, in doing so, our field.

The people I used to prep for job interviews are now the people who are leading the way - and doing so in largely their own way.

So, who is mentoring who? Instead of a hierarchy, I've left San Diego with a more circular concept of mentorship. Intergenerational sharing is something that the U.S., and specifically professional Californians, are not exactly known for. But, I'm hoping that my experience may reflect a new beginning happening all over: a system where younger and seasoned people are able to come to the same table and share, learn, and apply.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Revenge is a dish best served cold. With sangria.

Five weeks, three days and a few hours ago, my heart was broken by the man who I thought was the Love of my Life (note the capital Ls). It was really broken – it was more like crushed into a million small pieces. But that’s beside the point. I’m the first to say we had our differences - he liked the Netherlands national soccer team and I’ve been a Spanish fan for years.

Anticipation for the World Cup has started months ago, but after picking up the pieces of my aforementioned destroyed heart, I decided that the World Cup, and more specifically the Spanish national team would be my rebound relationship.

I refocused my life around the matches, cheering for a few other teams but with special love and affection for my Spanish boys (who have had a history of great players who just can’t perform at the global tournaments). I knew I could be setting myself up for another heartbreak. But I cheered on regardless.

As the Round of 16 started, I knew We (Spain and me, of course) could make it to the next round. And we did. When we beat Germany, I was not only stunned by the sweet feeling of victory, trust, and giddiness that started churning in my chest again, but also by the fact that I thought my team really deserved it.

It was surreal that the Netherlands played Spain for the final match. It wasn’t just about world domination on the field. It was my rebound-boyfriend was going head-to-head with my ex. In front of the whole world.

So, I did what any dedicated girl would do in a rebound relationship – I got a fabulous red and gold outfit, rallied my favorite group of people, and found myself waiting in front of the Spanish bar four hours before kick off. I found myself on the edge of my seat watching one of the dirtiest matches of the world. Spain was playing against a bunch of big, Orange bullies. But as the ball finally made its way to the Dutch net during overtime, my heart burst with joy. They did it. We did it. My team had won.

Before my breakup, I would have been ecstatic. But yesterday it put me over the edge.

Like most rebound relationships, it’s been about gaining back a little bit of pride and self-worth. It’s been about getting out from under the covers of my bed and hoping for something big and special. But I never could have asked for more. Not only did my rebound boyfriend beat my ex’s team without playing outright nasty. But they won the ENTIRE World Cup. They took home all of it. It was as if my rebound boyfriend proposed in front of the whole world. And kicked my ex down while doing it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

5 things that gave me pause

I want to be a blogger. I want to see something remarkable and type about it in a witty and insightful way. And I want it to not feel like a lot of pressure. So, here's a baby step:

Five Things That Have Given Me Pause This Week

1. Last week, a colleague of mine had her brother get shot on afternoon in a park in the neighborhood where I work.

2. A friend got off the phone with her new boy and had a ridiculous grin on her face. As she walked up, I was looking at grad school programs with the same goofy grin. Could my next romance be with grad school?

3. Finishing up a 21 day cleanse (fruits, veggies, brown and wild rice, eggs, lentils, and fish) has put me in the rhythm of cooking and cleaning in a very natural way. My life revolves around healthy food preparation, eating, and thinking about what to prepare next. And I kinda like it.

4. How should family, travel, and finances interweave at this point in my life? And why do I feel like such an Adult about it?

5. "Perception is reality" - in the past four months, situations are poised to change and sometimes it takes so much work to mentally adapt and create alternate realities. But then they don't. And we are back to square one. But our mind is already stretched out around the other permutations of our lives that we had envisioned.

So, there you have it. Not quite witty or insightful. But a start.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

One record at a time.

Today I went to volunteer at 211 for disaster relief. The phones were quickly taken, so Luis, my partner-in-volunteerism-crime, and I were set to the glamorous task of data entry, entering call records from the previous week.

It was boring. It was tedious. But it told me the stories of the people who had called over the past week. Their numbers went from 10,000 calls a month to over 30,000 calls a day. Most people wanted to know “information on the fire.” Which I easily indicated into the appropriate box with a click of the mouse.

But sometimes, the forms were more detailed. A volunteer operator named Shelia wrote with a red pen. Her callers tended to be concerned about “fire status” and her “i”s were tops with little circles, even though she was working the 12:00-4:00 a.m. shift. Another, Erika, wrote down addresses in straight, neat penmanship. I knew she couldn’t give these people the answers about their homes. But she wrote them down anyway. “Information on the fire” clicked my mouse again.

Other notes included “the wall of fire behind the homes on my street.” “Where is my dad? – Ramona communities.” “Concerned about inmate family member – where are they being transferred to?” “Is my house okay?” Click.Click.Click.

I know the volunteer operators didn’t have the answers. But they were there to try. To listen. To offer the best they could. A week after the fires began, I can click them into the computer, reducing them to tick marks.

I know most of them have found their homes, and hopefully their fathers and everything else in between. But I also know some of them probably didn’t.

But lately, I feel that I don’t know a lot of things lately. And that’s okay, too. So, I will just keep clicking my mouse. One call recorded at a time. And maybe one day, we’ll have everything transcribed and everything in order.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

San Diego Fires

At risk of creating an utterly bland blog, I decided to post today to give my out-of-town friends an update on the fires of San Diego.

My parents are on stand-by, waiting for a voluntary evacuation notice. Many of my friends are evacuated. All of the schools and universities are also shut down, as well as the majority of the business offices in San Diego. As you probably know from watching the news, the governor declared a state of emergency yesterday. Today, he called in 150,000 members of the National Guard.

If my parents ARE evacuated, they will head to my aunt and uncle's house in San Clemente. If my apartment is evacuated, which is unlikely, but may occur in the next few days, I will go with them, crutches and ALL!

San Diego's preparation and response seems logical, reasonable, and well thought out. It appears that people are receiving clear messages about where to go and what to do, thought surely inconsistencies abound.

It's moments like this, we all prepare for. And I'm so glad we are prepared.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Healing and Handicap

Very rarely does one acknowledge that one has actually surprised oneself. Personally, I feel like the bar is so high, it's probably unattainable. And if I can grasp it for a spilt second, I am only staring up at in the next.

While in the DR, I fractured my foot; since then, there has been no driving or walking. Today I didn't use my crutches for the first time in a month, so I can now justifiably reflect on this time of healing and handicap.

In my dependency, I have surprised myself with my dedication and discipline to continuing live a full and engaging life. I have been to Las Vegas (for grandma), and Los Angeles (spend a few days with Doreen and Isabel Allende). I have gone to the theatre and the SD Women's Film Festival. I have been to appointments, the grocery store, and worked from wi-fi friendly coffee shops. I have hosted dinner parties, BBQs and refused to cancel outreach events.

All in all, my bad-assness for getting around town is pretty damn remarkable.

What has surprised me even more, however, is the power of community, and the dedication of my family, friends, co-workers and society for providing the means for my involvement. Without JD and Lauren, I would not get to work everyday. Sans Megan and my mom, I would not have food in my fridge. Without Audrey, Christina, Luis, and Brandon, I would have a very limited social life. Without the legislation and coding considering handicap persons, I would have very little access to public spaces (thumbs up to Stater Bros for the electric wheelchair, and thumbs down to the DMV for not processing my placard when I needed it most).

...but this isn't suppose to be a list of shout-outs. It's actually suppose to contextualize the great spirit and magic of a community that takes care of one another in times of need. The generosity of others has left me humbled and grateful, and confirmed that handicap access still has far to go (like the heavy doors at work or the stairs to Audrey's apartment).

In a few short weeks, my injury will be a memory, many people may never be blessed with the walking abilities most of us enjoy and for them, we should all be advocates. Because, who knows when the next time you may stepping off a curb to get into a car (like me), or worse.

Overall, this month has given me time to ground myself and reflect after a vacation of spending more time alone and with my literature than with my boyfriend. And I feel great - looking forward to an amazing fall with my amazing community and sporting my not-so-stylish-but-quite-amazing black, cast-like boot. Namaste.

Monday, September 3, 2007

La Negra Rosa or Bust!

I am welcomed to Bahia Principe-landia - my psedio-cruiseship world, where everything is included by the magical, annoying braclet my wrist. The mediocre food my guide book warned me about. The cheap Mamajuana (rum drink of choice) that tastes like rubbing alcohol by the pool. It's a world like communist theory, but with Pedro's director-status, we are a step above, which actually makes the resort more like actual communism. Or how I imagine communism to be.

But the resort culture is very isolated. Which makes me feel like I am Havana Nights. But instead of finding my Intellect-Working-as-Cabana-Boy Diego Luna, I realize I am already dating Johnny (aka Pedro Jose), the one with loads of promise who the girl's parents like. I can't shake the desire to go to La Rosa Negra (the dance club which was locals-only) and bust out of the resort life.

I'm basically stuck on the resort, with three pools, and lovely beach full of families and groups of older Spaniards, and quite a few restaurants, so life is very easy, though not too interesting. I'm beginning to call it The Compound.

About every three hours I occiolate between loving the adventure and excitment of a new place to complete apathy of a country full of corruption and chaos.