Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


September 2008

Observations from a Working Mom on a Business Trip

As many of you know, I am a fairly new mother.  And I have a full time job.  Right now I am in California, nearly 3,000 miles away from The Bean, Crunch 'n Munch, Super Baby, Avery Boo, Little Punky La Roux (if you have a child, I am sure you can relate to the nicknames).  I am currently on my first extended business trip away from her.  I have been away from her before for a few days, in Germany for a wedding.  That was hard.  This is hard too, but different since it's for work.  I am still new at this mothering thing, but have a few working out-of-the-home mother observations.  Here they are:

  • Comfort with leaving her is directly related to having a great nanny.  We have a great nanny.  I never think twice when I leave the house.  Even for a few days.

  • She is ok without me.  Her father is a great caregiver.  I am not the only one who can raise her.  I know this sounds like an obvious observation, but I think mothers have a gene that tells us we have to be the one who does things.  I know that is not true.  It's great if I can be that one, but let me not undermine or underestimate her father's ability to take great care of her.

  • She will remember me when I get back.  It may take her a second (she is only 8 months old…not even…7 months and 3 weeks) but recognition "wait, I know this person" happens.  That is a wonderful thing.

  • Being away clarifies work for me – I better love what I do, or else.  If not, being away shines a bright light in your face that you cannot ignore, as there is real sacrifice.  Thank goodness I have a very meaningful career.

  • And finally, there are two first times for everything: the first time she does something, and the first time I see/hear/witness it.  So far this week, I have missed "Ma Ma Ma", the first real crawling and picking up an object with two fingers.  Big sigh.  There is an upside…perhaps if I stay away long enough, she will be potty trained when I return.

Today’s Random Thoughts…I did say RANDOM

A sampling of thoughts running through my head today:

Pants or skirt?  Pants.

Wow, after a weekend of waking every two hours, Avery slept through the night again.  Thank god.

Flats or heels?  Flats.

Please let the subway not be late…or I will be.

"Yo, Home Slice!  I said CREAM, not skim, in my coffee!"  Oh wait, that was not a thought…I said that out loud.  Anyway, continuing on…

I will stand by policy of keeping my office light off for at least half the day.  Every little bit helps to reduce the global footprint.

I know there is more to this.  There has to be.

If a company is going 100 miles per hour, that can mean if it hits the wall, it hits that much harder.  OK, slow down a bit and drive defensively.

No, I cannot take that call.  Please have them send me an email.

Be on that advisory board?  Uhmmm, yeah!  Thanks for asking.  That would be cool.  Hello [organization to be disclosed later when the news is public].

I guess I should never run for office.  I blame Americans and our consumptive, keep up with the Jones', look for someone to blame for our own failings, credit-driven culture for a lot of our problems right now. 

Why the hell can't I pickup our internal wifi signal from my office? 

Who is making it more fun for kids to do schoolwork?  For teachers to be more effective?

Avery is baptized now.  I wonder how she will feel about that at age 20.

Life without email.  What was that like?

Why can't I categorize my Twitter feeds through a tabbed interface? 

OOOHH – Jamba Juice.

If I see "out-innovate" in this presentation one more time…I don't want to compete on feature/function. 

I now feel like the picture of modern motherhood – I learned through IM from my nanny today that Avery just started saying "Ma ma ma ma!"  I guess that is better than a text message.

Better check in for my flight.

Typepad's blog post editor is pretty terrible.

Today was a day for…

  • Waking up at 3AM to feed my crying daughter who sleeps through the night.  Wait a minute…

  • Trying to make it to the Web2.0 Expo while having four conference calls and two meetings. Hmmm.

  • Damning NYC for putting the Javits Center REALLY FAR AWAY! 

  • Researching adaptive learning engines!  Yes, I knew you were thinking that too.  And about technologies schools are adopting to make improve learning.  Video game based homework, anyone?

  • The Office!

  • Wondering if it's really possible that I stopped breastfeeding and gained 10 pounds.  Maybe my clothes dryer shrank all of my clothes?  Maybe?

  • Rolling in the grass under the September sun and drinking wine while eating stinky cheese! 

  • Or…going to the office.

  • And later heading home to take over at bath time.

  • Talking to my mom about stroganoff and doctors appointments, and my dad about Schumann, Palin and FDR.

  • And being so very glad we are heading to VA to see Mom and Dad tomorrow.  You know, there is never enough time.

Ever Happen To You?

Do you ever walk into an event – say, a party, a networking event, a bar, whatever – and not really know anyone, but know that people you do know will (maybe) show up, and then you see everyone talking to someone…and wonder if most people arrive at events with people they know so they don't have to spend a minute standing around by themselves looking for people they know?

Me neither.  Nope, not me.  Never.
On a serious note, I have taken the Myers-Briggs test three times (all forced upon me by various institutions, but of course, being a navel-gazer, I was a little interested), and each time I was smack dab in the middle on the scale of Extravert / Introvert.  This explains a lot.  And being an introvert, btw, does not mean you are shy.  It's about how you process information and how you generate energy.

I wonder if entrepreneurs are more often extraverts or introverts.  Are entrepreneurs born or made?  Is there a real personality type?  Can you spot it a mile away?  


  • Very worried about the economy and friends at Lehman.

  • But, excited about roasted kale!

  • Working with my companies to manage capital conservatively.

  • My daughter is almost crawling!

  • Though the world is crumbling financially, still seeing lots of entrepreneurs trying to disrupt industries.

  • Excited for the two people who run James, the restaurant in my neighborhood featured in the NYTimes today!  A Bruni review, good stuff.

  • Where have all the cowboys gone?

  • Have been criticized for my vocal opposition to McCain/Palin…by people who are themselves, vocal about their opposition to Obama/Biden.  Umm, if you can't take it, don't dish it out…

  • Loving September weather in NYC.

  • But traveling for 5 days in September to CA. Oh well.  At least it's nice in CA.

  • Sifting through new deals to see what are nice new features versus what could be great, huge new companies.

  • Excited I met a VC today who refuses to own a blackberry.

  • Sad that I own a blackberry…but only at times.  I actually, generally like it.  Even on vacation.  But don't always expect me to answer.

  • Heading home now to put my daughter to bed.

  • Will be plugged back in around 7:30PM.  When the kale is roasting.

The Manolo Challenge

Let's face it.  For some of us, working out does not come naturally.  It can be a chore, a "have to."  I have tried hard to shift my mindset about this (kumbaya, embrace the working out) but if I am honest, I would almost always rather watch a movie.

But it has to be done.  So if you are in my camp, you might agree, extreme measures are needed to make sure it happens.  Extreme can include public embarrassment, harassment from friends, food deprivation, loss of money…the list goes on.  What is a lazy worker-outer to do?

One day a few years ago, a friend and I had a run with In and Out Burger and Krispy Kreme Donuts.  The run in included eating all of the above, in one afternoon.  We almost died.  I am still wringing out my arteries.  I mean, an occasional stop for a donut is one thing, but it's a totally different thing to have a huge burger (double double animal style – AWWW YEAH!), a pile of fries, a soda (not diet…the horror…all those chemicals…if I am going to be bad, I at least want real sugar) only to be followed by not one but two fresh out of the oven donuts.  Mmmm…good times.

And then reality set in.  Within minutes of said consumption we practically ran off the road fighting off sugar coma.  And immediately – I am not kidding – my pants practically burst.  And we were in Malibu where fat people are not allowed.  It was a bad day.

Extreme measures were needed to fend off this kind of behavior and get back to our healthy selves.  What did we do?  We invented a plan.  A brutal plan involving humiliation, some deprivation and potential money spending…but there was a reward.  We invented…wait for it…

THE MANOLO CHALLENGE (picture a beautiful pair of hand-crafted shoes coming down through the clouds…the light is behind them…angels are singing…)

The Manolo Challenge was an eating and exercise plan that lives on today and is followed, with modifications, by others.  Here are the basic requirements:

  • Cardio at least 4x a week for min of 1 hour each time;

  • 100 sit ups 3x a week;

  • Strength training at least 2x a week.

  • On eating and drinking, we limited our drinks to no more than 7 a week (rationale: 1 glass of wine per day works for the french, so why not us) and no donuts, stuff like that.

We set up a system (ahh, spreadsheets!) whereby we reported to each other on a weekly basis how we did, and if you did something like eat fries, your Manolo Challenge buddy could assign you a "make-it-up" workout like an extra hour on the bike.   If after 2 months you had complied with everything on average 90%, you "won". 

Here is the kicker: if you won and the other lost, the loser had to buy the winner a pair of Manolos (and not on sale – real, current season, cannot pay your rent, Manolo Blahniks). If you both win, you were allowed to buy yourself a pair of Manolos. If you both lose, you have to donate $500 to a charity…so in any event, you were out $500 but the goal was to not have to buy the other person a pair of shoes!

Let me tell you, rarely have I been so motivated.  We might need to institute MCII. 

TIR – Sept 6, 2008

Another Morning Run

Mileage: 4.0 miles

Time: about 45 minutes (I am giving myself a bit of a break here)

Pace: more than 11 minute miles, on average.  Still very SAD!  For the record, there was a time not too long ago when I ran 13.1 miles – IN A ROW – at a pace of 9:47.  I was quite happy about that. Since then I have aged 18 months, gained 25 pounds, given birth and recuperated.  Oh yeah, I had MAJOR surgery with the birth of said baby.  And yes, I have lost the pounds but with all of that, muscle seems to have disappeared too. Not to mention endurance, flexibility, stamina, a general sense of youth…

Again, nevermind all that.  I keep going…

Palin Palin Palin

Does anyone find it hypocritical and, oh I don't know…OFFENSIVE…that Palin's family issues are "off limits" yet she wants to legislate a woman's right to have a child?  If I agree to get out of your living room, then get the F!*?# out of my womb!


Check out Gloria Steinem's view on Palin:

I won't even try to compete with that.  All I can say is, yup.  Damn right.

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