Lions, Tigers, and Bears

I’ve been working in management for about seven months now, and the transition from part time to leadership has been…turbulent, exciting, overwhelming, inspiring, and necessary. It was time for me to move on from teaching, and at first I was unsure if this was the right move (I thought I might journey back to marketing and public relations) but now I’m certain it was. When I was studying in the MBA program, I took two courses centered on leadership and management, and in both, I indicated to my instructors that I wasn’t interested in working in management. I felt it was scary, I didn’t want the headache, and most of what I’d read about management seemed like it involved an intense amount of pressure. Those things aren’t untrue; I’ve experienced pressure, headaches, and nervousness since assuming this role. However, I feel like I’m able to grow more in this position than my past one. I’m constantly challenged to grow and get better, and I like that. One of the ways I’ve grown is through my ability to face what I’d been fearing about management: managing.

It’s not as simple as telling people what to do. That’s simple delegation, and even without management or leadership experience, anyone can pass off work to someone else. Managing requires additional accountability, responsibility, and an element of protection. Good managers don’t throw people under the bus when projects go wrong. Good managers work with their team members’ strengths as well as shortcomings. Good managers recognize their own strengths and shortcomings, too. But great managers are not necessarily always leaders. It’s leadership that pulls the team together in the face of difficulty. Leaders keep their team safe from misguided emotions or responsibility that should not be shouldered by their own team members. Leaders are lions.


The tigris is still my favorite cat, but lioness is a close second!

I’ve had to grow into a lion.

The truth is that in most aspects, I’m a lot more like a tiger.

Tigers are the largest of the big cats. They don’t hold the distinction as “king” or “queen” of anything, as they mostly travel and live in limited groups, or alone. Lions travel and live in prides, large communities of lions all working toward a common purpose. Both are hunters, and tigers are aggressive fighters, but lions (males anyway) are said to have an advantage in combat due to their mane’s ability to protect their necks. Tigers don’t have manes…but they’re giant, thrashing animals.

I’ve always had some sense of aggression about me. My instinct is to challenge authority’s orders because I’m too strong-willed to just blindly obey what someone I don’t know tells me (hence why I would have failed in the military). I’m also a professional loner, and capable of fighting my own battles, performing my own stunts, licking my own wounds. Naturally, I am a tiger. In the professional environment, I have to be a lion.

Lions also do lion shit, like draw blood, growl, patrol, and protect. Lions are leaders. Doing lion shit has been tough, but also gratifying. It’s hard to learn to navigate “drawing blood” through assertiveness, consistency, and courage. I don’t let myself get railroaded anymore because I can’t – I can’t afford to, as railroading means the entire team falls off track. I have no choice but to protect my team members because their time is valuable for our collective goal, and I can’t afford to have them distracted by other people from outside the department or team. It’s a balancing act…but I’ve fallen into it okay.

Then, there are the bears; I work for two of them. One is like a koala – (I know, I know…they aren’t really bears, but bear with me) calm, pensive, subtle, and very approachable. The other is like a grizzly – constantly working toward a greater good, a hunter, one you can learn a lot from, and markedly more aggressive. Navigating between their two differing dynamics is also a challenge, but I don’t think I could have grown into what I am now without them. I’ve worked a lot of jobs, and for a lot of bosses, but I’ve only had one other boss in the past that I respected as much as these two. We aren’t buddies, but we work well together.

There you have it – my animal kingdom analogy for my professional life.

Oh my.


I’m grateful I’ve had such an environment in which to grow.

Happy Birthday, Mom

My mom and I celebrated her birthday together last month, and it was a big deal because at this point, my mom has now outlived her own mother, who died at age 57 after hospitalization with pneumonia. I’ve written about my grandmother on this blog a few times before, so if you’re not familiar with that story, you may want to look back for a moment.


That’s us! Christmas 2011

Spending time with my mom is a big deal for other reasons too. For six years, we lived on opposite coasts. As well as we did during that time with getting along, it was grueling. It was painful. It was difficult. Now that I have the chance to see her on a daily basis again, it’s important for me to take time out to do things with her.

One might argue that I’m trying to make up for lost time. Perhaps that’s true. Though we shared tons of details over the phone, my mom wasn’t as involved with the planning process of my wedding as most moms would be, simply due to distance. I couldn’t have my mother at my first baby shower because I wanted her at the birth of my daughter instead. I spent a lot of money flying east because it was important for me to see her each year (sadly, one year, I couldn’t make it happen).

My mom and I are also in the minority for mother/daughter relationships that I’ve seen in the people around me. Moms and daughters tend to love each other intrinsically, but that doesn’t automatically make them close. Some moms are overbearing and controlling, they berate their daughters, or they even experience extreme jealousy of them. For as long as I can remember, my mom has always served as an example to me. She’s pushed me to be more and do more. We don’t always agree or get along, but none of our disagreements have ever gone unresolved. Now that I’m an adult, she supports me on my journey through marriage and motherhood. She gives me pointers on my journey through the professional world. Each day that I get with her, I feel grateful. We don’t get to choose our parents, but I’m certainly glad I got the parents that I did.

I’m also looking forward to spending as much time as I possibly can cherishing my mom.❤

I’m With Colin.

Santa Clara 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (yeah, I said it – THEY DON’T PLAY IN SAN FRANCISCO, FOLKS.) abstained from standing during the national anthem during a preseason game a few days ago. Typically, when the anthem is played or performed, as citizens of this country we rise to show respect for our land and those who have fought for it. However, Colin said he didn’t want to stand. His exact words were, I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

golden gate

My beloved Golden Gate. If you didn’t already know, the Bay is where I’m originally from.

As a Bay Area girl, I have never wanted a Niners jersey more than I do now.

And many will say, “This is disrespectful.”

“We must respect the flag.”

“People died for this country.”

“Colin is a disgrace.”

All of that is fine. It’s blatant that a piece of cloth is more important to some people than the dead bodies of people who have been innocently killed by the very force that is tasked with protecting our country. A song, written about the glory of our nation’s spirit, is given more respect than a race of people by most who walk the soil of this great land.

Before you crucify me for being a bad American, let me assure you, I AM A TRUE AMERICAN.

This is my country too. And because of that fact, I demand that me and people like me be treated with respect and dignity. Liberty and justice for all…not just those with money. Not just those with light skin. Not just those in uniform. NOT just those with the guns.

My country has failed me. It has failed Colin. It failed Tamir Rice. It failed Sandra Bland. It failed Trayvon…

And until my country gets it right, I also cannot stand up and pledge allegiance to the very flag my grandfather, uncles, and friends fought for. Do not point your fingers of accusatory disrespect at me when there are plenty of other people who have disrespected the legacy of our country with ignorant, bigoted actions. As long as George Zimmerman is allowed to walk free and brag about slaying an unarmed teenager, Colin Kaepernick, and anyone else who feels moved, is allowed to express themselves how they want to over our national anthem and flag.




Quicker Than a Ray of Light – Kennedy is Three!

I don’t know how this happened, but I am suddenly mom to a three year old. That beautiful baby I incubated and gave birth to seemingly yesterday has grown into a little kid – talking, walking, singing, dancing, laughing, and brightening the world of those around her. Where has the time gone?? Here are some photos of what the last 365 have been like for sweet K. Faye:


Right after she blew out the candles on her second birthday cake, Kennedy came with me to New Orleans to visit Auntie Tiffany. She liked the French Quarter.🙂


We dressed up as fairies for Halloween 2015


Christmas with kiddos is always a blast.


In January, Kennedy got to meet the cousin she shares a birthday with, just after his team’s amazing victory over the Florida State Seminoles!


We moved into our new home in February, and Kennedy and I started soaking up the new yard almost immediately. 


Someone also graduated to a spiffy new toddler bed for her brand new big girl room!


Upon unpacking, she got to try on my wedding dress, finally. 


Reppin’ the Giants like a BOSS! #GotItFromHerMama


I wish we could’ve spent more time at the beach this year. We’ll do better next year, K. 


More than any other year, Kennedy spent lots of time with family, such as her sister cousin Giovanna. 


…and her beautiful Auntie Patricia🙂


The Fourth of July was another fun backyard occasion. 


Newly three years old. She’s a Barbie girl, she’s a princess, she’s my everything.❤

Every day of being Kennedy’s mom brings new challenges and joys to me as I strive to be all that I can be for her.



One Moment in Time…

I dreamt of my maternal grandmother last night. This is a big deal because as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, she passed away when I was very young and left a decent-sized hole in our family when she left. Because she left so long ago, it’s hard for me to keep her face in my memory, so I will often look at pictures once or twice a month just to keep hers and my grandfather’s faces fresh in my mind. Their faces, the way they both walked, the way they dressed…all were very vivid in this dream.

My mom and I got access to a time machine (quit laughing, I said it was a dream) that allowed us to go back and retrieve anyone we wanted to and bring them to the present. We resolved to jump back to 1990 – the year before she died – and bring her and my grandfather to the present. In order to not upset their psyches too much, we did what we could to make our 2016 world seem as much like 1990 as we could, like covering up flat screen TVs, hiding cell phones, etc. Ultimately, we brought my grandparents from the 90s to 2016 successfully.

grandma bobby

The way we were…❤️

My grandmother asked about some of her sons who have passed on, and we were able to deflect her questions by explaining that we’re in Florida now, and they’re back in California. We didn’t want to hurt her by telling her that some of her children died young. We were also pretty invested in keeping up the 1990 façade, meaning they would’ve still been alive. Aside from some of her questioning, she settled in for a comforting visit with all of us. (Come to think of it, she never once questioned how I was suddenly an adult, even though in 1990 I would’ve only been six…)

Side note: Many reading this may not realize how monumental this is to me, and that’s okay. To see images of my grandmother standing in my living room was powerful. She was playing with my daughter and gave her a kiss. Now that I think of it, she and my mom were about the same age in this dream; my mom will turn 58 in about a month, making her the same age my grandmother was when she passed away. Funny, nobody seemed to take notice at the time.

She met my husband.

She told me how proud of me she was.

I couldn’t keep things a secret from her any longer and pulled her aside to tell her what we’d done. I told her she died in 1991 and that my mom and I had searched for a way to go back to her ever since. When given the chance to bring her here, we did it. Then, as if my heart was cut open, I told her that life has been hard without her. I told her we couldn’t keep her here forever because it wouldn’t be right, so I asked her to give me any advice she could that I could hold on to.

And then, I woke up. 💔

I sobbed like a baby wishing I could just go back to sleep to finish the dream and have more time with her.

I’m only writing this here so that I don’t lose this memory. I KNOW that God sent her to me to comfort me at a time when work is tough, parenting is tough, life is tough. I have no complaints about my life, but anyone who tells you their life is roses all damn day is a liar. It’s not! And I needed something or someone to give me that push to let me know that no matter how rough circumstances might become, I’m still on the right path and doing what I’m supposed to. I took her message of telling me how proud of me she was to be this. Perhaps when I’m in need of the rest of what she had to say, I’ll dream of her again.

I can’t sit and cry at my laptop all day, so I’m off.

Be well!

P.S. If any of you knows how I can get my hands on some time machine technology, let me know!!🙂