Saturday, June 19, 2004

Let the vacation begin!

It's official, I'm on vacation. I leave for Hawaii in 10 hours :) Just in time because this June Gloom is really getting to me. Which doesn't make much sense since I grew up in Western Washington and I should be used to gray days. I'm just not used to them during the summer. My friends and I went to the Padres-Blue Jays game tonight. Wells got rocked early and their rally in the 9th fell short so the losing streak continues. At least the Mariners won.

Not sure how often I'll be able to update this during the next two weeks. I refuse to schlep my laptop to paradise. But a recap with pictures will be in order when I return.

Thursday, June 17, 2004


The more I think about b-school, applications, the admissions process, etc. the more I find myself wondering if I'm really good enough to get in to a top ten program or if I'm only kidding myself. I've never really doubted my abilities in the past, yet for some reason b-school has flipped on the self-doubt switch. I didn't go to an Ivy League school. I've managed money, but I've never managed people. I don't think of myself as a particularly creative writer, so essay anxiety is already starting. Maybe I've been spending too much time reading the BW forums, where everyone seems to have off the chart stats and the "admissions consultants" seem to feed the doubt in order to drive their business. I can see how the forums will become addictive and I need to find alternative, less negative outlets for the nervous energy that comes with this journey.

I had a great discussion with my manager yesterday. We meet one-on-one at least once a month, if not twice, to discuss my development. He gave me some great feedback on the short term goals & improvements I've made and then we started talking about long term goals/path to a promotion. I mentioned that I'd be adding a new wrinkle to consider because I will be applying to b-school in the fall. Very scary moment, laying it out there, waiting for his reaction. He was so positive about it, volunteering himself to write "great" recommendations. I didn't even have to ask. He even volunteered me to proofread them for him since he is not a native English speaker. He's considered b-school in the past and we found out that we scored the same on the GMAT. Funny, all that stress about his reaction for nothing. I should probably apply that lesson to my other b-school related doubts & stress. Not that I should allow myself to become complacent, but I definitely shouldn't get so wound up that it cuts into my beauty sleep.

Check off securing recommendations from the to-do list. Current manager & former manager are both on board!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Single female voters & "The Daffodil Principle"

My friend forwarded me this article that ran in the Village Voice about the role single women will play in the presidential election. It's an interesting article, I just wish the author had chosen to interview a few women that were a little more politically savvy. Even so, at least one of the women echoed my opinion. I don't want either of them and it's difficult to get excited about voting for whomever I decide is the lesser of two evils.

Presidential Candidates Court Single Women

Another friend sent me this "feel good" email. Usually, they get the boot from my inbox pretty quick, but this one provides a good lesson on setting big goals and pursuing them one step at a time. Kinda cheesy, but it seems pretty relevant to me!

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there.

When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!" My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car." "How far will we have to drive?" "Just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this." After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!" "We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils." "Carolyn," I said sternly, "please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience." After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign that read, "Daffodil Garden." We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns - great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

"It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house. On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking" was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and very little brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

There it was, The Daffodil Principle.

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of indescribable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time - often just one baby-step at a time - and learning to love the doing; learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

So, stop waiting...

Until your car or home is paid off

Until you get a new car or home

Until your new job comes along

Until your kids leave the house

Until you go back to school

Until you finish school

Until you lose 10 lbs.

Until you gain 10 lbs.

Until you get married

Until you get a divorce

Until you have kids

Until you retire

Until summer

Until spring

Until winter

Until fall

Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Earthquake update & stupid drunks

Here's a link to the preliminary report

Not a very bad one. 5.1, 55 miles off the coast just south of the border and about 9 miles deep. No threat of a tsunami to any of the west coast. They had been predicting an earthquake around a magnitude of 6+ in Southern CA. Predition Link No significant damage or injuries being reported thank goodness.

On a somewhat crazier note, I live out at the beach. A lot of young people live out there and it has a pretty good nightlife, so crazy things happen from time to time. For example, most people who live in PB have beach cruisers, i.e. granny bike with big handle bars, comfy seat, and a basket. Easier to get around PB on a bike and you don't have to worry about parking, but you still have to be careful because the cops can issue you a bike DUI. Seriously, and it's very funny to see it happen. However, this is definitely one of the crazier things in awhile. I may even classify it as crazy with a K.

Drunk Driver Hits 20 Cars

OK, if you're so wasted that you can't drive down the street without hitting a dozen parked cars, how did you even manage to get the key in the ignition???

No MBA-related updates today. I've got too much to do at work (when I'm not diving underneath my desk) and I have several errands to run this evening to purchase odds-n-ends for my trip.


We just had a nice sized earthquake here in San Diego. Not my first having lived on the west coast for 24 years, but my first one experienced in a high rise. I'm on the 10th floor of a 30 floor building. It was interesting. The funny thing is you're safer in these big, new buildings because they are built strategically to "go with the flow" when the earth starts to move. Still a little shaky here. Me, not the earth.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Countdown to 6/19

My motivation for work is pretty low right now, which is dangerous because I have quite a bit to do with a hard deadline looming. I am going on two weeks vacation to Hawaii this Saturday. I haven't taken two consecutive weeks off work ever and I'm really looking forward to a re-energizing break. We're wrapping up our quarterly forecasting process and the past few weeks have been filled with long & hectic work days. I'm spending too much time today daydreaming of 14 days of mai-tais and Hawaiian sunsets. I'm also looking forward to using some of my down time to read more of Montauk's book and get some MBA app prep done. You might scoff at spending vacation time working on this stuff, but it really will be an ideal time to make some headway in this process. I'm going with my mom and our condo will not have a TV. Kauai is a quiet island, not a lot of nightlife and we won't be eating out much, so we will likely spend our evenings reading. It will be nice to be able to bounce some of my ideas off my mom, especially since she will be one of my essay reviewers.

Can't believe the Lakers are down 3-1 in the finals. Poor Gary Payton, looks like he won't be getting his ring after all [/sarcasm] I'm a Seattle sports fan, and this summer has been brutal because the Mariners are just pathetic. No bats, too old, and managements seems to have no desire build a championship caliber team on the support of Seattle fans. Something's gotta give or else that support will soon be gone. It's not that we're bandwagon fans, it's just that we know what they're capable of and willing to put money behind them yet management is not. It's been a steep decline from 116 wins just 3 years ago. They're showing some signs of life, winning their last three, but there's really no way they'll finish any better than 3rd in the AL west. OTOH, the Seahawks are showing real promise and I'm looking forward to football season.

I've finished two books in the past week, Pledged and My Sister's Keeper, and I will continue thinking about both for awhile. I am a member of a "national, historically white" sorority and I'm still actively involved in both the local alumnae chapter and as a member of the advisory board for a local collegiate chapter. Pledged is an undercover look at sorority life and has created quite the stir in the sorority world (mostly negative) so I picked it up out of curiousity. What I found is that it was fairly honest in its portrayal of sorority life, both the good and the bad, though I felt Ms. Robbins spent more time on the bad and any time spent on the good was more of a backhanded compliment. I'm not going to defend what some sisters do. Some of it is indefensible. However, my personal experience was (and continues to be) a positive one that provided me significant opportunties for leadership and camaraderie. I feel proud of the contribution I've made to my sorority and I'm happy that I was able to share it with a few of my friends who had never previously considered Greek life. I'm happy that I'm able to help a collegiate chapter improve its sisterhood and its contribution to our sorority and campus life. The only thing that angered me about Pledged is that Ms. Robbins felt the need to expose secret rituals. It wasn't necessary to go there and she lost my respect because of it.

My Sister's Keeper was a great novel that takes a critical look at the ethical dilemma of genetic engineering and organ/tissue donation. It tells the story of Anna, a thirteen year old girl who was genetically engineered to be a perfect match for her sister, Kate, who is dying of lukemia. Anna is tired of being the invisible, spare parts provider for Kate and sues her parents for medical emancipation. Very good book, quick read, mostly sad but filled with hope, and a great dialogue for medical ethics.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

5:30 am "wake" up on a Saturday?

Yep, and it was worth it. I went wakeboarding this morning at Lake Elsinore. We had great water and I got in a couple of fun sets. I'm addicted to wakeboarding (hence my nickname "wakechick"). A friend introduced me to the sport a few years ago and I've been hooked ever since that first time up. I had some bad luck last summer and blew out my right knee (ACL/MCL/meniscus). I'm ~9 months post reconstructive surgery and this was my second time out with the new ACL. I'm still working on getting over that fear of getting injured again, but there's not much better than hitting the lake at sunrise and skimming over the glassy surface at 22 mph. I may meet some friends at the beach later this afternoon, or I may just take a nap. I may even do both.

OK, so I should probably do a little introduction and let anyone who might be reading this know where I am in the MBA application process. I graduated from Washington State University in 2000 with a degree in Economics. I took a job with a financial services company and moved to the east coast (VA) a couple of months later. I spent my first three years doing marketing data analysis, then about a year ago made the switch to financial analysis and transferred to our San Diego office. They really had to twist my arm to get me to go :) San Diego rocks! Four years out of undergrad and I'm feeling like I've kinda "been there, done that" with the work I've been doing and I'd like to take it to the next level. Specifically, build on my marketing & financial analysis experience with an MBA and move into strategic planning & business development. I would like to attend a program that will let me further specialize my MBA to include sports/entertainment/media curriculum (or at minimum has an active student club with that focus). I'm a sports nut and my ultimate dream job would be the Commissioner of the NFL or President of the NCAA (and yes, I would find a solution to the BCS mess). An old roommate once asked me if there were any sports I didn't like or wouldn't watch. My answer: curling, but that's really a lie because I would probably watch that too if it was on ESPN.

Let's see that covers undergrad, work experience, and basic motivation for the MBA. I've already taken the GMAT. In fact, I took it a long time ago. This is not my first venture into MBA acceptance. I applied to 5 top 30 programs during my senior year at WSU. Dinged by all, obviously, lack of work experience and vague objectives across the board. I was pretty bummed at the time, but everything happens for a reason and I can see now that I was no where near ready for b-school. I think that first attempt & rejection will help me this time around. So, the GMAT...very happy with my score except for the fact that it expires in November. I really don't want to take that thing again for several reasons, primarily time, money, and fear that I won't do as well. That eliminates a few schools from contention right off the bat, but none that I really had my heart set on and it might be a good thing to help me narrow down my choices. I still need to trim down the list quite a bit. I'm shooting to apply to 5-6 programs in their first rounds. The list as it stands today: UCLA/Anderson, Berkeley/Haas, Chicago, Kellogg, Michigan, Wharton, Indiana, Texas/McCombs, Arizona State, Oregon. Anderson & Haas are at the top of the list (for now) based on program quality & curiculum, location, and my CA residency. It also doesn't hurt that Berkeley is not too far from the West Coast mecca of wakeboarding, the Delta.

Next steps for the weeks to come: deeper research into the programs & trimming the list, requesting GMAT score reports & WSU transcripts, updating my resume, and getting my thoughts on career path/why mba/why now sorted out into some outlines that can help me as I start drafting essays.

Friday, June 11, 2004

My first post

I've decided to give this blog thing a go. I will be applying to MBA programs in the fall of 2004 (for admission to the Class of 2007...egads, I will be almost 30 when I graduate!), so lately I've been perusing many MBA related websites, including the League of MBA Bloggers. This seems like a good tool to help me manage this crazy MBA application process, keep a record of my introspection & insights that are sure to come, and make a contribution to the online community of MBA hopefuls. The value of that contribution remains to be seen ;) Here we go...