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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

Month

February 2007

Happy Anniversary!

I let a date go by – the one year anniversary of when I started my personal dumping ground rant talk about whatever I want to probably less about work more about thoughts blog.  Here is the first post.  So I am actually more than a month late in celebrating.  Tsk tsk (note to the Big H – this is no indicator of my intention to celebrate our anniversary on any day other than the real thing).

It’s been a good year.  What this is really about for me is what goes on in my head – the insanity, if you will.  I find I go back and re-read every once in a while, as I always have with journals, and I am at times horrified, excited, bored, amused, amazed with what has come out of my head and landed on this blog.

Cheers to year 1.

Count To Ten

Whatever you are doing right now, stop.  Close your eyes, focus on and count your next ten breaths.  That is all you have to do – focus on and count your next ten breaths. 

How many can you get to before your mind wanders to something else?

I do this occasionally throughout the day.  It’s hard to get to ten.  But I always feel a little refreshed afterwards.

Moodle In The Morning

I have a lot of things crossing my mind today.  As I have done in the past, I think I will take the next several seconds and open the floodgate within…

  • Word of the day: Moodle
  • Brenda Ueland is a true inspiration.  Buy her book.
  • Why is it still OK to make fun of blonds?  Seriously?  Take a blond joke, insert some other characterization and say it in public.  Not so OK, right?  Not such a funny joke.
  • You may not think the latter point is a big deal, but I will say stuff like that makes it just a little harder to be a blond woman investor (HA!  A blond woman investor!  Oh my god, oh let me catch my breath…WHOO that is funny!).  Every time I go to an investor conference – and I mean EVERY time, at least once someone – usually a white male CEO – asks me "Oh do you do marketing for them?" or "Do you do back office operations for Ascend?" (Yeah because we ALWAYS send our executive assistants out to industry conferences.)  How many men get those questions?  I have Ally McBeal moments when that happens – for a split second I imagine turning into a 9 foot venture chick monster who rips the guy’s head off, stomps him to the floor and makes him prove to me he has a real business (ARRGH!!!!!!!  I control capital, hear me roar!)  The image is priceless.  But then I say "No, I Invest." Oh well.  It’s really his loss.  You have limited time at those conferences and the time spent proving to someone that yes I am investor is less time we have to talk about the guy’s business. 
  • I have a bruised toenail from running.  A nasty badge of honor.
  • The Big H and I need to go to more art openings.
  • I have not seen a movie in a theater in about two months.
  • Practicing awareness is easier said than done.
  • Practicing patience is necessary in the world of VC.
  • I have a teenager whom I have mentored for the last three years.  She wants to go to Brown and then become a doctor.  She’ll do that and way more. 
  • In many ways I feel like I know less now than I thought I knew when I was 20.  And that feeling is actually really cool – keeps me young and honest.
  • I would like to learn to speak French and Italian, and need to re-learn Russian, which I studied in college.
  • I used to believe in the "oh I have no regrets" theory of life.  And yes, true, I would not be who I am today if I made different choices BLAH BLAH.  But all that bull cocky aside, if I could do it again, I would take a year off between high school and college and work in a restaurant in a small town in France and then do the same in Italy.  Then I would go to college (not Georgetown – a different college…sorry Hoyas) and I would double major in English Literature and Math.  And I would take more History Classes and maybe also Film.  And Fine Art. 
  • Tomorrow I am meeting with an entrepreneur who has what I think is a very cool business, solving a very "why didn’t I think of that" problem and I cannot wait to hear his story. 
  • A lot of people think they want to do VC because they think they will make a ton of money.  And maybe that is true (well, it needs to be over time or else you suck at investing).  But nevermind all that.  The best part of the job for me is not the prospect of great wealth, cars, financial security, private jets and bathing in champagne.  No, Betsy, the best part, believe it or not, is surrounding yourself with people who love what they do.  I meet and work with a lot of entrepreneurs who love what they do.  Like actors and artists, many entrepreneurs cannot imagine doing anything else – so they follow their gut and start companies.  And that is damn inspiring.

The Wisdom of Andy Garcia, etc.

I saw a couple of things today that make a lot of sense, and are worth remembering.  The first nugget of obvious but helpful wisdom is from (drumroll) a Cadillac commercial.  Yes, you read that right.  Maybe I am just in a sappy reflective mood, but so be it.  Andy Garcia (who naturally, is a sage and faunt of buddha-like wisdom) says something like:

"there is always fear in life; trepidation; you don’t know what is going to happen…reality is you have to be willing to fall, you just have to make sure that you fall forward"

Be willing to fall, be sure to fall forward.  Not bad for a Sunday night.

Second: there is a blogger I have been reading for a while – her name is Keri Smith and you can find her blog here.  I don’t know her, but she seems cool and funky and she makes me want to break out my paints and colored pencils.  And I like people like that.  She posted this today on her site, which says it all:

Impermanence_1 

Question

As we get older, does our world expand or contract?

something I am thinking about.

Holding On to the Unknown

Today I am in the middle of having a realization.  I am not ready to talk about it specifically, but in generalized terms, today I woke up to a reality I have suspected exists for a while now.  And it’s no longer a suspicion.  No, I am not dying (as far as I know) – it’s nothing like that.  But it is something important to me – something I have learned I identify with and that I value.

So much for thinking we are in control.  The more I grow, the more I realize how little control we actually have.  You plan, you scheme, you invest.  It may not matter.  We are but a part of so many moving pieces.  So what is one to do?

Give up.  Let go.  Forget attaching oneself to circumstances?  That seems too loosey goosey to me.  But I don’t know what else to do.  Roll with the punches?  I realize I am being cryptic. 

Not everything is meant for public consumption, I suppose.  But what it is specifically is less interesting than the effect I am allowing it to have on me.

It’s interesting in times like things – when I realize my VISION may not be realized in a certain way, that I turn to the supernatural for comfort.  I turn to my belief in the irrational, the unproven, the aspect of a larger power at work.  Faith in things that don’t make sense.  Maybe even a supremely guided universe and the notion that what comes around goes around, and if you do good, ultimately good comes back your way.  And that there are at least as many good surprises as bad surprises.  Hope.  In addition, of course, to hard work and sweat and maybe some tears. 

So while letting go of labels, attachments and visions, I am holding fast to the unknown, what may be around a corner, the power of the universe to come full circle. 

I think I might be crazy. 

Ode to Curves

What are you thinking about today?  I have been thinking about inspiration.  I signed up for a race at the end of March.  There are days when training seems like a pain, but I am doing it anyway.  And I ask myself, how do I get out the door when I don’t feel like doing it?  Well first of all, I don’t always succeed in getting out the door, but when I do, I am thinking about one of two things:

Nike

– OR-

My Mother.

Nike is obvious.  Just Do It is the best slogan ever. Don’t ask questions, don’t hesitate, don’t allow your mind to say "but I don’t feel like it." Just Do It. 

Mother, not so obvious.  My mother has never been an exerciser, per se.  I did not really understand that people "worked out" until I went to college.  All of a sudden I was surrounded by people – women mostly – who at some point in the day would choose to torture themselves at a gym or by running somewhere with no goal other than to run ("Are you going to get milk?" I would ask.  "Um, no, I am going for a run."  "Why run when you can walk?"  "Are you a moron, it’s running for running’s sake."  "Oh.")

So being a bit of a follower, I started to run.  I always wanted somewhere to go when I ran, but over time I realized that when you run, that is the very purpose.  It is the end and the means. 

Back to Mother – I did not grow up in a family that worked out.  So recently, out of the blue, I am talking to my mother on the phone, asked her what she was doing that day and she rattled off a few things and then said:

"And I am going to Curves."

"Where?  Is that a store?"

"No, it’s Curves.  It’s a gym."

"Are you getting a gift certificate for someone?"

"No.  I am going to go to Curves for myself."

"What will you do there?"

"Workout…are you feeling OK?  You seem a little slow right now."

"Yes I am fine.  Just interesting that you are going to a gym.  Who would have thought."

"Well, I have been going for a while.  And I like it.  I don’t sweat much, but I think it helps."

Interesting, I thought to myself.  My mother has picked up a new habit.  Going to the gym.  Out of nowhere.  Now my mother is not old by any stretch.  Mom is young and cute and spry, and fashionable.  She is like Audrey Hepburn mixed with a sassy take no crap flight attendant.  But speaking honestly (because I normally lie profusely), picking up new habits is not something I would have expected from her.  And I was excited for her.  And proud.  And inspired. 

So now I find that whenever I don’t feel like working out, or when faced with trying something new and I sense internal resistance, I think of my mom going to Curves.  And I am out the door.

Act Your Age

We have had a pretty interesting weekend so far.  And thank goodness, since it’s President’s Day.  It would be depressing not to have a good weekend on President’s Day.  Quick summary:

Dinner and drinks last night at The Stanton Social.  I need to link to this stuff since I tend to forget places I like and this is a good way to remember, so when friends come to town and ask "where should we go?" I now have a resource for creating an itinerary…and sounding cooler than I really am :-). 

After dinner/drinks we went for more drinks "vodka soda please" at The Back Room which is the old Lansky Lounge.  Fun place…would recommend.

Of course at this point (2:30AM) we were feeling peckish.   Nothing a Spicy Redneck cannot solve.  What, pretell, is a Spicy Redneck?  You can get one here.  We have a special fondness for this place because the Crif Dogs hot dogs were our first meal together as an engaged couple (we got engaged, had a bottle of champagne, got hungry and made a run for DAWGS).  If you are in NYC, and you like bacon and hot dogs…and in particular BACON WRAPPED HOT DOGS (indeed), do not hesitate.  Just go.  That is an order.  But don’t tell.  And oh yeah, order the tater tots. 

And then we went to bed.  At something like 3AM.  Maybe later. 

And then I woke up (damn cats) and felt like I needed to shave my tongue.  God, I am too old for this (I said to my self as I sat up in bed, and I am SURE I heard God reply back "Yes dear, you are too old for this.").  But then the Big H made me an egg sandwich and a cup of tea (I normally drink coffee, but he made me tea.  Bless his heart…I know when to pick my battles and when to let things go.) and I was feeling human again.

So now we get to Saturday.   And on this particular Saturday we got a car!  We got a 2007 VW Touareg and we love it!  Now after a night of childish debauchery we feel like adults again.  It’s one degree away from a station wagon, big enough to "haul" stuff and hold a dog (even though we don’t have a dog.  but if we did, we could haul him).  This car rocks and we had a great time beating up the salespeople.  Best negotiation of my life so far I think.  There was blood on the floor by the time we left and it was not ours.  I think the manager may have actually cried.  Now we are feeling most sensible, smart and practical. 

So at the risk of feeling adult like for too long, we immediately took our new car home and got ready to go out (are you really still reading this?  it has to be incredibly dull for others…but I am liking this weekend so far and want to remember even the tiny details.  OK, if you insist…)

Saturday night 8:30PM we meet friends at Death & Co. for pre-dinner drinks.  I order something called a Company Hub and immediately know this is the kind of drink that puts hair on your chest.  Perfect.  I was looking for a new accessory. 

Off to dinner now to E.U. which was great (better than the review suggests).  The Big H knows the chef so he sent out a few extras that were terrific. 

We ended with a cheese plate.  And ice cream.  And fried dough with chocolate.  And Moscato.  One might say we gilded the lilly.

Then the crowd moved to a club/bar.  At this point, I was beginning to fade…my pumpkin had arrived.  I smooched the H goodbye, and hopped in a cab.  And here I am, recounting the weekend thus far.  He is still out with the crowd (someone has to represent the family) and I am happily now ensconced at home at 1:30 AM.

A good weekend thus far, I would say.  Wonder what tomorrow will hold… 

Poaching Fish

Just a note – I made salmon the other night and used a new method…and it ROCKED.   Thought I would share.

Take a salmon fillet, give it a little salt and pepper.

Squeeze some lemon juice into a freezer safe storage bag.  Place salmon fillet in said bag.  Squeeze out the air and close the bag.

In a deep pan (does not need to be too deep – but should hold about 3 inches of water) bring water to a simmer.  Place bag into simmering water and allow to cook for 10 minutes.

Remove bag from pan, then remove salmon from bag.  Enjoy delicious easily cooked healthy salmon.  Lemon is not necessary, but tasty.  You can use other elements of flavor in the bag if you like (dill, maybe garlic).

Added benefit Рmy apartment did not wreak of saut̩ed salmon stench (hazard of living in NYC without a hood over the stove).

I served this with over spinach couscous with a tomato caper sauce (in a bowl, combine: a handful of halved grape or cherry tomatoes, a couple tablespoons of capers, some salt pepper and olive oil, maybe parsley and basil if you want)…dumped that in a warm pan for 1 minute to heat through and poured it over the couscous and salmon.  Fit for a king, if I do say so myself.

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