Tuesday, May 31, 2005

On the Road: Don't Mess With Me

My last post gave a few hints of my "don't mess with me" attitude when I travel.

I'm not a lackey road warrior, I'm a seasoned professional. In 1999, I put about 50,000 miles on the Toyota Corolla wagon going here there and everywhere. The Western US felt our tire tracks from San Bernadino to Boise, Idaho.

The understanding, relaxed life coach who compassionately encourages women to reach for their dreams transforms into this tough as nails drill sargeant when behind the wheel of a car and faced with miles and miles of endless highways.

I'm driving my sister nuts.

To keep her to her word that she'd do all the driving in exchange for me helping move my niece back home, I parked myself in the passenger seat expecting her to perform as I would.

We're in the Sierra Nevada foothills trying to find Nevada City from Grass Valley on unnamed backroads.

"OK", my sister asks, "which way?

"What's your gut tell you?", I retort.

"Which way", she repeats with an annoyed tone.

"You're the driver, use your instinct. You need to hone your navigational skills. Now's a good time to start."

"Too old. Won't change", she threw back with attitude. All she needed was a Camel no filter dangling a 2 inch ash.

We approached a crossroads. She looked at me.

"Figure it out".

"F***", and she swirved left.

Next stop, Grass Valley.

OK, so we made a complete circle but she needed to learn!

To be a team member on the Loca Road Show, you must have the following skills
1. An internal compass and basic skills in figuring out north, south, east, and west
2. The ability to read a map and FOLD IT BACK properly
3. Anticipate the driver's needs and act accordingly
4. Gas money, and lots of it
5. And now, with our new sidekick, Team Loca members must have the ability to entertain and tolerate toddlers.



Friday, May 27, 2005

On the Road Hurlin' and Whirlin'

My niece Kati, the extremely talented artist, is wrapping up her freshman year at San Francisco State University. It seems like only yesterday we were driving her and all her... ahem, stuff... up from LA to my alma mater. Hard to believe it was almost a year ago.

Now it's the end of her first year and we have to scoop her up for a summer back to her LA home.

Bright and early, that's my road trip preference. If only the world would cooperate w/ me, then everything would be hummin along but no... we must have obstacles.

Preface to this all: go with the flow. Release expectations. Savor the present moment.

Obstacle #1: Car not loaded the night before.
That was my ideal scenario. We had camping gear, toys, books, luggage... lots of stuff. Bringing a 2 year old on a 7 hour car trip requires muchas cosas but loading the night before didn't happen (oh husband, are you reading this?) so that was some extra time in the morning. Having a young one help you load a car adds another half hour to your already lagging schedule.

Obstacle #2: Lovely Child
Here mija, take some cheerios for the ride. No let mommy hand you the bag. NO sweetie, let mommy hand you the bag... Please dear, let go, mommy's got it. (child grabs bag by the bottom and yanks hard) Ay, Citlalli now there are cheerios all over the floor!

No mija, mommy can sweep them up all by herself. I know you want to help sweep with your toy broom, but it's getting late. Do you realize it's right before Memorial Day and I hate driving in holiday traffic so much I leave the THURSDAY before? (another 15 minutes go by)

Alright, let's go baby. What's that? You need your Pooh doll? OK, let's get Pooh. Now Piglet? OK, get Piglet. What other toys do you need? (My arms are full --- she insists I carry them).

Obstacle #3: Hurling Sister
I call my sister first thing in the morning to verify her state of readiness. She answers with this tiny voice, "hello?".

"What's wrong?" I ask her.
"I have a migraine. I feel awful."
"Have you taken anything?"
"I'm taking some Excedrin right now".

OK, luggage loaded, kid has cheerios and animals, car is gassed up, sister on meds. Let's get this show on the road, I say to myself.

I get to my sister's house in LA and when she opened the door I knew we were in trouble.

"Damn," I reacted, "you look like crap!" (sisters can say these things to one another)

"Oh, I feel awful. I think I should've eaten when I took that Excedrin".

I exhaled. People who don't eat when taking stomach churning headache cures REALLY bug me. I'm a planner, why didn't she take that into account?

"No problem, we'll be fine. Guess you won't be driving."

I should've noticed something was wrong as we drove. Usually extremely chatty, my sister was silent, head buried in hands.

As we headed up the grade towards the Grapevine, she took the LA times out of its plastic bag.

Why does she want to read the paper when she's nauseous?

And then she fired off: HURRRRRRRL!

"Oh boy", I say.

We pulled over to a carwash in Santa Clarita and dumped this bag of barf in a trash can.

"I always feel better after I barf". I always try to pull the positive out of bad situation.

"Yeah, I'm good now".

Up the Grapevine we go, barely making it to Gorman when we had to pull over again.

Side of the road, she let's it go for #2.

"Yeah, now I'm good".

"Well," I tell her "I know you're sick, but I'm really hungry. I want to stop and eat. You can have something bland or just enjoy not being in a moving vehicle for a while."

So we go to Panda Express right off the Grapevine and she got a Pepsi, thinking that would somehow help her nausea.

As we approached Buttonwillow, she let it go yet again. Big bag of Pepsi barf. My last bag.

We got gas and I asked the clerk for 3 or 4 extra bags. "Got a sick one in the car", I told the girl.

"Oh you poor thing", she said as she handed another bag just in case.

You reach a point in barfing where you know that you're better and I think that last one was it for her.

By the time we reached Santa Nella, my other sister called my cell to check our status.

I told her the barf stories and we all laughed. My sick passenger was able to laugh with us so that showed me she was better.

Meanwhile, Citlalli was a champ in the backseat. Having gone through a 48 hour stomach flu bug the previous weekend, she empathized deeply with the barfing. "Poor Suzy barfed!"

So here we are in the Bay Area. I can't come up here without getting super homesick. We're on our way to the Sierra Nevada foothills for some farm fun w/ my brother's friend and not really sure what we're gonna do the rest of the time. All my siblings are busy w/ Memorial Day weekend so we're playing it by ear.

Best news of all: my car doesn't smell like barf. And you better believe that my sis is doing all the driving on our way back!


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Entrepreneurial Activism, Part 4: Profile of Carla Blazek

The entrepreneurial activist is someone who can create a livelihood for herself that not only enriches her life, but adds goodness and positivity to the world. Her goods and services have an intention behind them, giving them that magic spark that makes dreams come true.

Last night our Chispa coaching circle had a special guest. Carla Blazek of www.zenamoon.com joined us to share her path to success.

A few years back, Carla was working for Microsoft. As she described it, to work at MS you must be TYPE A to the max. Not knowing any other life, she endured meetings with difficult people and excruciating hours. For relaxation, she took a candle making class.

Suddenly Carla found that she loved to make candles. People loved what she made and a new business was born. Eventually, she made the leap to quit her well paying job and become an artesan fulltime. Carla is a very spiritual person and relied heavily on her intuition and trust in the Universe that all would work out.

A huge coup was getting her products in the hands of Oprah Winfrey. Who wouldn't want Oprah as a raving fan of your work? Turns out someone who knew someone who knew Oprah... well, long story short Carla made up special candle sets for Oprah's inner circle clique called The Spa Girls, and the rest is history. Her products were included in a goody bag for O's Your Best Life Yet tour and after that things exploded.

So do you think that it's a coincidence that someone who was chained by the shackles of corporate America handed it all over to faith, did what she loved, and now is enjoying crazy huge success?

Carla's business planning has a spiritual bent to it. She follows intuition. She acts on instincts. She listens to people.

It was amazing hearing her speak to a group of blossoming entrepreneurs who share many of her same values. Although her success can be measured in dollars and cents, more so it can be measured in that feeling she has when she speaks of her work.

This woman LOVES her life, LOVES what she does, and is out to put goodness in the world. She hangs onto every fan letter, every touching story and revisits those when feeling tempted by the Trickster's negative messages.

To hear her speak is a treat. She's animated, enthusiastic, and did I already say positive and inspiring a zillion times already? When Carla sneak-peeked us with dreams of doing retreats and other things down the road, we all could see that as clearly as we see her current line.

Go visit her website often. She changes it every week and you can see how much fun she's having with her work. Thank you Carla!



Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Entrepreneurial Activism, Part 3

You can read Parts One and Two first if you must...

otherwise jump right in here...

Activists want to change the world for the better. My desire to make a living without losing my conscience turned me into an entrepreneur. As time goes on, I am forced to confront and do battle with the trickster inside of me who doesn't want this to work.

The fatal flaw of many activists is the inability to look within. Having a focus on the ills of the outside world, introspection often takes the back seat. Personal dysfunctions surface, disguised as anger at a system or institution. I've seen many people who toil to bring peace and justice to the world, yet their home lives are a wreck. It's not just activists that go through this, it happens with religious groups, cultural groups, anything that calls your attention and pulls your focus.

None of us are perfect.

Entrepreneurs are prone to workaholism, as I have seen firsthand. Being consumed by what you're passionate about is wonderful and debilitating at the same time.

So the entrepreneur and the activist are both prone to imbalance and that can be a lethal cocktail.

(What a great time for a Comadre Coaching commercial... )

I'm leaving it at that for today. If anyone reading this has any thougths to share, drop me a line and let's talk.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Entrepreneurial Activism, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Part 1 shared a little with you about my dive into entrepreneurship and the discovery I made along the line that being an entrepreneur can have as much impact as clear, focused activism.

Getting to this point required a lot of soul searching and the shattering of some limiting beliefs.

Here is some of the baggage I carried around about business owners:

1. They're all greedy
2. They oppress workers.
3. All they want to do is turn a buck.
4. They're all conservative and close minded
5. They're seriously obsessed and don't have lives.

Where did I get most of this? I think part of it stemmed from issues I carry over from my youth.

I caricaturized certain traits as a business owner and slapped them on the faces of anyone who crossed my path.
Chamber of Commerce? Get outta my way.
Rotary? Yeah, right.

Oh, I had attitude all right.

My issues covered it all like a cozy blanket. I never had to think about the issue, I knew what I knew which is summarized above in points 1-5.

Then I had a child, saw that my job was not making me happy, and scurried to find something, anything that would help me survive.

Like become a business owner?????????

more to be revealed...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Entrepreneurial Activism, Part 1

My dad was a born entrepreneur, still is, and has zero faith in big corporations that have no soul. As a young man, he got a job with Standard Oil in the accounting department. An older coworker, after having served decades with the company, retired soon after my dad started. His token of thanks for years of service and sacrifice: a watch.

"Like hell if I'm gonna bust my butt day in and day out for a stinkin' watch", my dad said to himself and struck out on his own.

I've always been independent like my dad, but never had a clear vision of starting out on my own. He's a numbers person, I'm an idea person, and I'm chronically allergic to details. So I followed in my mom's footsteps and entered a helping profession, which I toiled at for 15 years.

I was a teacher. Not just any teacher, a Spanish bilingual teacher until they outlawed that then I was just an ESL teacher.

I loved it for a while then lost belief in the system. I saw how politicians felt the need to dictate classroom practices, how less teaching and more testing were destroying the intellects of so many, and felt helpless against the growing apathy in the student body.

From first grade to high school with some college lecturing and teacher training thrown in, I gave it my all. But when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and told that I had to move classrooms from a ground floor room to a third floor building with no elevator, I knew that it was time to skidoo. How 'bout just a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t?

Taking away that safety net left me with something I'd always had. Ideas.

Big ideas, small ideas, ideas for you, ideas for me, ideas for the neighbor down the street. After all, I could coax poetry from kids on the edge. I could tap into the creative genius of youngsters who society was preparing to write off. I got teachers to refresh their curriculums and dare to challenge their students in culturally, intellectually, and socially affirming approaches.

So now, with that career behind me, I still had my ideas. But who's gonna pay the bills? My husband has his job, but I got used to a certain amount coming in each month and needed to find a solution.

It took me a bit of soul searching and education to connect that creative spark with the ability to make money. Having worked as a teacher for so long, I never had to ask anyone for money. There was no cash register at the back of the classroom, I just collected my check at the end of each month.

Some of my teacher friends were shocked and disappointed to see me leave the profession. They still have the understanding that I used to subscribe to, namely that if you're not feeling the pain of the world then you must not be making a difference. Like, how dare you go out on your own and create happiness when so many are suffering?

Exploring my own codependent behaviors helped me to make the choices I had to make to feel good about leaving teaching and OK with starting a business. I spent my first year of coaching just going around and around with this issue.

I still see myself as an agent of change and perhaps I can make even a greater impact with the work I do now. For starters, I am much happier in this work. I don't have to yell at anyone, write detentions, make out report cards, call parents, etc. That was the part of teaching I HATED. I hated having to be a cop and hated the system for putting 40 kids who were all in dire need of extra help into one classroom, expecting me to turn their lives around and bring them up to grade level by January.

So here I am now, seeing that I can put a LOT of good into the world with Comadre Coaching. People visit my website for creative ideas, to seek help for their businesses, to launch their careers or jumpstart a flailing one.

I thought I didn't know anything about business, but it turns out that I spent 15 years in sales, marketing, and R&D with my classroom teaching. How do you make homework appealing?
Put a snazzy spin on it.
How do you get kids to read a book?
Promote it in a way that reaches their needs, their experiences.

And now it's becoming more and more apparent that the entrepreneur is the partner to those who work to better the world. In a recent converation I had with publishing expert Marcela Landres, we both agreed that entrepreneurial people are the activists of today. We are creating our own solutions, empowering others through our work, and raising the level of consciousness and caring in the business community.

I am just hitting the surface on this topic, with more musings to come.

Quick American Idol blurb:

Now that it's down to the top 3, I'm losing interest. But I must say that Bo is a great example of a person with a strong mission. At his original audition, he said he wanted to infuse more rock and blues into the mainstream music and that's exactly what he's doing. When was the last time you heard some puro pinche blues on Top 40 radio? I hope that doesn't mean we'll get rocker boy bands, Backstreet boys with leather wristbands, but change is always fun!


Friday, May 06, 2005

Who's Your Daddy?

Coincidence or family album? Let's get to the root of it all now...

American Idol's shocking news this season isn't the ouster of favorite Constantine... but the revelation that C is actually the love child of 80's rocker David Coverdale.

And with reports disputing the actual dates and even the truth of Jim Morrison's death, it is clear that his seed carries on in the highly favored Bo Bice.

Investigations are pending that connect eccentric Nadia with cult-diva Grace Jones, Anwar with Bob Marley, and Carrie Underwood with Priscilla Presley. Keep checking back for more up to the minute news.

The Loca Diaries reserves the right to veer off the expected path of blogdom from time to time in an unyielding effort to keep readers amazed, amused, and informed. For serious matters, please contact Comadre Coaching at the web address below.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

You know that deep down inside all I want to do is write about Amerian Idol, but we must wait til dessert.

If I go right into it, the thrill will be gone... alas.

Yes, we'll get to AI...

But let's talk other stuff first:

Today I had a great time moderating a mother/daughter panel discussion at the National Hispanic Business Womens Association. I realized that we women have no trouble discussing the personal and the professional. To rephrase the old feminist slogan, the personal is the professional. Would a panel of successful men include discussions on kids and family? I think not.

This isn't anything new, but we as women are bringing the reality of the many facets of life out to the forefront. You don't have to pretend you're some neutered tron when you're in a professional situation, as today's panel proved. Rock on, mujeres.

Yesterday the Chispa coaching circle hit a major discovery. Many of our conversations revolve around keeping the momentum going. We revisit that topic all the time. However, yesterday we connected the dots between setting personal boundaries and momentum.

When we don't set boundaries to protect our needs, then we lose momentum. For instance, if being in balance is extremely important to you then you need to know what to say yes to and what to say no to in order for that to flourish in your life. Not flourishing= resentment, guilt, inner critic= loss of momentum. Do the math.

There is a God!
OK, now for my American Idol report.

Like so many of you, I'm joyous and relieved that Scott has left American Idol. I must say that his singing and performing improved greatly in the last weeks, and even his confidence soared, but still... the guy isn't THAT good. He was the butt of a cruel joke by the highly dysfunctional souls at Vote for the Worst but I won't feel sorry for him. Remember: he has a criminal record for assaulting a woman. I have a zero tolerance policy for misogynists!

But here's a twist... my man Bo has a record for some possession. Seems like Mr. Bice likes to partake in the ganja from time to time (oh no, I'm shocked!) and employed the use of a white Colombian powder.

Now know this about me: I'm what they call "on the good red road" which means that I don't drink or do drugs and try to be of service to my community. But that doesn't mean I have to hate others who *responsibly* use those things. I know addicts and alcoholics from a mile away and Bo doesn't strike me as the type. It would already be showing in his face and body if he were a substance abuser.

So Bo, you are absolved. Go burn a fat one right now if that will keep you going.

Scott, you are not absolved and need to find an understanding therapist.

That's the report, now we're down to 4!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Family Photos

There is nothing better than being at an uncrowded beach on a warm day. Here are some pictures of me, two of my sisters, and my super-star water loving girl.

That's Citlalli and I digging the waves.

Jeanne, Citlalli and Nancy

Nancy, Zan, Citlalli

Nancy and Citlalli

All work and no play makes locas no fun. Give yourself a break and enjoy spring!