I left my Heart in San Francisco


One of my favorite places on the planet, in addition to Paris, is San Francisco.  The art, the music, and the cuisine can rival just about any city. But when you add the thrill of riding a cable car up and down the steep hills, or gliding through the waves with the cool breeze in your sails, glancing back over the breath-taking city waterfront – I’d say only a few cities in the world can compare.

I lived and worked in the City by the Bay for many years, but five years ago I moved away and have missed it ever since. As you can imagine, the song I left my Heart in San Francisco rings especially true for me.

I’ll move back one day, but for now I just visit as often as I can, and dream of the beautiful fog flowing through the golden gate.

As a music lover, here are some songs I listen to whenever I’m feeling a little home sick.



San Francisco Blues ~ Peggy Lee


(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay ~ Otis Redding


San FranciscoBay Blues ~ Eric Clapton


San Francisco Days ~ Chris Isaak


San Francisco (Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair) ~ Scott McKenzie


San Francisco ~ The Wheepies


Grace Cathedral Hill ~ The Decemberists



Lights ~ Journey


Fake Tales of San Francisco ~ Arctic Monkeys

San Francisco Nights ~ Eric Burdon & The Animals

And of course…


Back it Up, Back it Up – You got it, You got it

Back it Up, Back it Up – You got it, You got it… yes that may sound like the words to a Gwen Stefani song, but right now, it’s my recommendation.  I just spent the last 24 hours in a panic. My external hard drive crashed yesterday and when I went to my 2nd external hard drive, which I thought I had backed everything up on, I found that the data was not there either.

All my music (53 Gigs, 8530 songs) – GONE!  All my digital photos of family and friends (17.3 gigs, 6534 pics) – GONE! Not to mention all my business files for the last 6 years. GONE! To say the least I was freaked out!  I went to google to get some answers how to go about getting my data back, and what I found was this could cost me anywhere from $500 to $15,000. UGH! Not the answer I was looking for.

Then I searched Google to see if I could find out how to at least get my music that was currently on my iPhone and copy it back to my computer. Since much of my music was purchased from iTunes at a buck a song, I was looking at a loss of over $3000 in music alone. 

I did find a great YouTube video that demonstrated how to perform this complicated procedure. I called Daniel, the IT guru at work, and asked if he could help me with a computer “problem”. 

I explained what happened and told him about the website I had found. He came right over and we went through the tutorial together and soon the music as being transferred back to my computer.

We actually had to download a program to do it, but at least we able to get the 25 gigs of the music that was on my iPhone back on my computer.  Just in case you ever have this happen to you, here is the url to this wonderful tutorial: http://youtu.be/PtsStUbjTJs and here is the link David refers to in his video:  http://www.digidna.net/ 

I was thrilled to have the music, but I was still really stressed about all the other files and pictures that I had on the hard drive – and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get back. Then Daniel suggested that we take the external hard drive apart and see if it would work if he hooked it up directly to a desktop computer.

A few minutes later he showed back up at my office with a toolbox and went to work. Let me just say, this was no easy task. I don’t think Maxtor® wants people opening their hard drive cases. Daniel ended up using a couple of  screwdrivers to wedge in a seam and split the casing. At one point I was afraid that he was going to stab himself as he tried to pry it open. After many minutes he finally did get the plastic casing open – only to find it was housed in yet another metal cage.  Good grief!  But he persevered and finally the hard drive was free! 

I watched with bated breath as he attached the hard drive to another computer and then waited as the computer booted up and we could find out if my data would be extractable.

YES! It was all there… We hooked up my 2nd external hard drive and transferred all the data over.

Nightmare averted!  Thank you Daniel – from here on out he will be known as My Hero!

It took a few hours to transfer the 119 gigs of data I had on this hard drive; and as it was transferring over I started to look through some of the old files.  It was like going down memory lane. 

I found a “Goals” list from 2005 (pretty interesting to notice the difference in my goals  now vs then). There were some old, unpublished blogs I wrote a few years ago (who knows, these just might show up here in the coming weeks).

I also  found my daughter’s college graduation invitation and the photos from the ceremony. There were the photos from my trip to London; and my daughter’s and my trip to Paris; as well as my son’s high school graduation photos.  I won’t go on and on about everything that was on the hard drive, but needless to say, it was very important both personally and professionally.

All I can say is I’m heading to Best Buy on my way home to pick up another hard drive, to use as a 3rd backup.  I never want to go through something like this again!

Superwoman or Sanity? How to Find Balance

Keeping healthy is an on-going balancing act. We want to keep in good physical health, but there’s also mental health, spiritual health, as well as financial health. Of course we need to keep our marriage (or significant relationship) healthy, and we strive for healthy relationships with our children. We ought to have friendships and hobbies outside of the family in order to keep that part of ourselves healthy as well.

In talking with many of my friends who are trying to balance career, marriage, children, relationships, keeping fit or any combination of the above, most are falling short in one area or another.

In the 80’s the term superwoman was used to describe a Western woman who works hard to manage multiple roles of a career woman, a homemaker, a volunteer, etc. It was depicted by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz, in her book The Superwoman Syndrome. [1]

The term derived a number of expressions, such as superwoman syndrome, superwoman squeeze (a pressure on a superwoman to perform well in her multiple roles),[2] and superwoman complex (an expectation of a superwoman that she can and should do everything).[3]

Although I haven’t heard these terms in many years, I think there is a “superwoman” lurking in the back of many women’s minds, prodding us, making us feel the need to try to do everything, and do it perfectly.

I’ve been a stay at home mom, a working mom, and a single parent at different stages in my life. As a working mother I can tell you there’s really no way to keep up that sort of pace without help. You’ve heard the expression “Something’s got to give”, well in order to keep all those balls in the air, the key, I believe, is finding balance, and getting some help. Finding someone you can bounce one or two of those balls off of once in a while.

Here are some tips I found useful when I got to a point when I just couldn’t do it all anymore.

Take care of you – First of all, be sure you are eating light but healthy meals, and drinking enough water. Nothing is worse than feeling ill due to eating the wrong foods or being dehydrated. Keep healthy snacks ready in the refrigerator so that if you don’t have time to prepare something for yourself, you can just grab something like string cheese, veggie sticks or a pre-made tuna or chicken salad.  

Prioritize and Delegate – Make a list of all the things that have to be done on a regular basis; then prioritize each task in the order of importance (A – must be done daily or on specific day/time; B – important, but not urgent; C – not important, not urgent).  You’d be surprised how much time we waste doing things that are not important and not urgent. Sometimes it’s just good to see this.

Next put a star next to any item that can be delegated to someone else. (Are the children old enough to start doing some chores? Is there a teenage neighbor looking to make some extra cash who might be able to take on a project or two? Can you share carpooling duties with another parent or two?) Write the person’s name next to the task you can delegate.

Communicate with your Spouse/Partner – If you have a partner, try to communicate with them so that they understand the extent of the household duties (show them the list), and ask for their help if this feels appropriate. Can you afford to hire a house cleaner to come in once or twice a month to take on the cleaning and keep things under control? You’d be surprised to find out how inexpensive this can be, and how much time it can save just having them come in a couple of times a month.

Take a break from the kids – Trade childcare for a few hours a week with another mom, this way you each have at least a half day of time by yourself to do things that you can’t do as easily with children – run errands, get your hair done, have a facial, read a book, or just recharge your batteries. It’s amazing how much you can do when you are not loading kids in and out of the car all day. On the days you have the other mom’s children at your home, do things like laundry and household chores that are easily manageable with kids around.

Alternative work schedule – If you are working outside of the house and this just feel like it’s getting to be too much, you might consider asking for an alternative work schedule. Some employers offer flex time, i.e., coming in earlier or staying later. While others offer a 9/80 work week, giving employees the option to work 80 hours in 9 days, having an extra day off every two weeks. Another is working four 10-hour days, and having an extra day off each week.  Depending on your financial needs, switching to a 20 or 30 hour work week has worked well for many people. Talk to your HR department and see what sort of plans they might offer.

Staying fit & Keeping up with Friends – One way that my friend Wendy and I keep active, and at the same time keep up to date with what’s going on in each other lives, is by going for a walk/jog three times a week. Oddly enough, we don’t live in the same town. What we do is call each other at 6:00 am and each head out of our respective houses with our ear piece in place.  We have a long conversation while walking a mile or two in our own neighborhoods.  Her husband and child are home sleeping and by the time she get’s back from our walk they are just waking up. We both feel it’s a great way to start the day, plus we have time to talk about whatever we want without feeling like we are taking time away from anyone else.

What ways have you found to keep up with all the responsibilities of running a household, working, raising children, keeping fit, and keeping your relationships healthy?

1.         “The superwoman syndrome”, by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz, Morton H. Shaevitz, 1984
2.         “The Superwoman Squeeze”, Newsweek”, May 19, 1980, pp. 72–79
3.         “Superwoman Complex A Pain In The Ego”, by Judith Serrin, Boca Raton News, July 28, 1976