Friday, May 23, 2008

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!

We did the American Lung Association's Breathe Easy Lung Ride in San Luis Obispo last weekend, and it was WONDERFUL! Even though it was a very hot weekend, most of the ride was along the coast - which was beautiful and cool. I didn't really get hot til the last 10-15 miles, particularly when I ran out of water (my fault for not filling up at the last rest stop! I totally forgot!) Mark stopped often so I could have some water from his camel back, but the sun and the heat did get to me - I got a pounding headache behind my eyes and dizzy. Nothing an air conditioned lobby, lots of cold water & some food couldn't fix. I did finish the ride, but after the dizzy spell I did get a SAG wagon back to my hotel (3 miles from the ride start). All the same, thank you all for your very generous donations! Your gifts, plus the very generous matching gifts from the Sun Microsystems Foundation, helped me raise $6884.02! WOW!

Thank you so much - the generosity of all of you is so humbling to me. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Biking to work & biking to save lives

This is a big week for bicycling and me, with Bike to Work Day coming up tomorrow (May 15) and my 65 mile ride for the American Lung Association on Saturday (May 17). I'm excited about Bike to Work Day, as I think this will be the first time I can actually ride in. It's always funny - I ride in all the time, but something like a doctors appointment will come up and I'll miss this one day. Well, I already rescheduled my dentist appointment so I can make it this year! I expect to see the trails pretty packed, even though my route doesn't take me along any of the "power stations", because tomorrow is also a Spare The Air Day and my last day to train for the ALA ride on Saturday.

Unfortunately, my show schedule and cold I got after we opened kept me from biking for essentially all of April - so, training didn't start until April 30. I've done this ride a few years in a row, now, so I know I can do it - I just know that my lack of training will result in being VERY tired and sore, but I will do it. I do this ride for my mother, a lung cancer survivor and asthma sufferer and for all of the family friends and family members we have lost to lung disease. If you can support me, I'd appreciate it. If not, please do something friendly for the environment on Saturday to help support clean air - like combine any trips by car, or see if you can walk or ride a bicycle to do your errands, or just make sure your car is passing its smog requirements. There's a lot of us in the Bay Area - small things we do can add up.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Last Chance: Valerie in Best Little W****house in Texas!

Hi everyone!

We're down to our last three performances for Best
Little W****house in Texas with Actor's Theatre Center in th Historic
Hoover Theater in San Jose. Reviews have been great, but audiences have
been small. Thank you so much for all of you who have already come out
to support us! Tonight, tomorrow & Saturday night (all 8PM curtain)

is the toughest acting role I've ever had - my character, Shy, is not
your typical happy-go-lucky musical role, but a woman with a shattered
past that was so tragic and difficult that life as a "working girl" was
seen as a big step up. This show is so much more dynamic that most
other ones I've seen - there are sad and touching moments, right along
with amazingly hilarious ones and upbeat dance numbers!

This is
based on a true story, right down to the wig-wearing, over the top,
"consumer activist" television star - that will have you rolling in the

I am so proud to be working with everyone of the actors
on this stage - everyone is top notch (many of whom you've seen before
with me or in shows we've gone to see together).

The Palo Alto Daily quite liked us:
(actresses are mislabeled - I haven't gone blond! :-)

Folks on Artsopolis enjoyed it, too:

Theater info:

You can buy tickets online or at the door.

C'mon down! A good time to be had by all!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Professional Business Women of California Conference

I was so fortunate last week to get to attend the Professional
Business Women of California's conference
in San Francisco. This was my
first time attending the event, and I was overwhelmed with everything
that went on. Every speaker was top notch, even at the sessions, and
the booths in the expo were filled with many interesting things - some
career oriented, others more personal - like jewelry or health care.
My only complaint is that with 6000 women in the Moscone Center, the 30
minute breaks were not really long enough.

The opening keynote from Martha Beck was surprisingly inspirational, as I don't normally find myself going for "feel good mumbo jumbo" - but I guess that's why her talk worked for me, she had substance behind her stories. Dr. Beck was talking about her own life and how she learned to "follow her joy" to find a career that both inspired her and that she was successful in. She noted that many people come to her, in her role as a life coach, and tell her they just don't know what to do with themselves. She found that they actually do know, but either think they can't do what they love or don't know how to get started. This gave me a moment to reflect in the joy I find in the work I do. True, there are days that aren't so "joyful", but having a rewarding job that I generally enjoy makes me a very lucky person, I think!

David Garibaldi, "Rhythm & Hue", was an amazing performance artist who made 6 foot portraits of both Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Madeleine Albright live, to perfect rhythm of the music, right before our eyes. It was very impressive!

I spent my morning in "Going Green: How Women's Economic Power and Counterintuitive Business Practices Can Make a Difference" where Diane Maceachern, Big Green Purse LLC, and Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield Farm, spoke about green practices in our every day lives and in businesses and how they can actually save money in the bottom line. Diane, who also authored Big Green Purse, noted that women are responsible for spending of 85 cents of every consumer dollar spent - making an excellent point that if we all make wise consumer choices, we can shift the market. As an example, she noted that in 1999 there were no hybrid cars being sold commercially. Suddenly in 2004, there were 88,000. Car makers took note. In 2004 there were not enough hybrids to meet demand and by 2007 more than 315,000 hybrids were sold. Automakers went from pushing back on legislators demanding more fuel efficiency, saying there was no demand, to coming up with more options on their own. A perfect example of how consumer demand can shift the marketplace faster than legislation.

She strongly recommends everyone to install water filters in their own house and use refillable bottles for water on the go - it's cheaper, and much more environmentally friendly.

Gary Hirshberg was also very interesting, talking about how sometimes searching for a more environmentally procedure for your business, you will find something that is also cheaper. As an example, he noted how UPS had changed many of its routes to eliminate left hand in town turns - saving millions of dollars of fuel costs/year.

My highlight came at lunch time when I got to hear a very fascinating Cokie Roberts talk about the founding mothers of our country and all of the work they contributed to the US in our early years, and Madelein Albright talk about women's issues in general.

Albright spoke so eloquently, really giving me pause to think about everything that is going on in the world. She noted that it is impossible to have a true democracy in a society where women are treated as second class citizens, and that anyone who abuses the dignity of one group, whether it be women or a specific race or class, is a security threat to us all. In that vein, she urged all women to be willing to help each other, stand up for each other, and fight for education of women around the world. When the issue of the Queen Bee Syndrome was brought up, Albright noted that it is indeed an actual problem, but she felt "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

The day wound up with an energizing talk from Meagen Johnson on the four different generations in the workplace right now, Traditional, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millenials. She talked extensively about how baby boomers are really team oriented, whereas Gen X folks are more self motivated and generally prefer working independently. A neat technology point she made is that most boomers did not work with a computer until they had a full time job after graduating college. Folks from the Gen X generation on the other hand grew up with computers in the schools (I still remember my schools Apple IIe and playing Oregon Trail!). Millenials, though, grew up with a computer always around. It was a fun talk that made light of many multi-generational issues, yet at the same time got me to thinking.

Overall, the conference was amazing and I could not recommend it enough!