Monday, August 22, 2016

When Doubt Paralyzes Me

I wrote the last week or two about how I attended BlogHer16 in L.A. I went because as someone who has been writing blogs for many years, I wanted to learn the business side of it, and I want to know what I don't know. I learned plenty, but one of the things that was said to me over and over is, "Why aren't you doing more live and video streaming?" My answer was, "I don't know that I have anything that interesting to broadcast." Of course, the replies were everything from hysterical laughter (I hope in a good way), to why/what do you write about? A week ago Friday I posted a live spot on Facebook, a little motivational piece and then last Friday I went live from Moonraker with The Menace playing a concert. That gave me the idea to do a weekly "woman on the street" type of show where I can go to different places and review food, showcase a special event, answer a question someone has about a place (by going there and showing the who or what), or any number of other things. The idea is to do something consistently so people who are interested know when to be tuning in. Why blog and broadcast live? For me it is a creative outlet, a way to share with people who I am, my interests, their interests, and ultimately document my journey. That's how the Monday Motivator (really all my blogs) started and why I keep writing them. I love the idea but when it comes time to take action, I get nervous and think, "this is stupid. Nobody is interested in me, what I am doing, my life, my activities." As far as writing my blogs, if no one reads them, who cares? I write them as documentation for myself and my family. If I go live, will people think, "Really? Who does she think she is?" #InsecuritySucks! But then I also think, "Why not me?" There are many people with far less interesting lives than I live that seem to hold an audiences attention. Or the people who broadcast inaccurate or really stupid content...I can do better than that. So with that said (seriously, I get nervous! I'm nervous at the thought of hitting post!) I'm going to do it, I'm going to set a day and time to go live and start finding some interesting places to go, people to talk to, things to show you, I don't know, something. I'm going to do it. I am. Yes. Me. And you. I'm stalling to hit post. Why does doubt paralyze me? And then I copied this as I had to ask Dave to read it and tell me if he thinks I'm crazy, which I know he does. And he confirms it. He also thinks I hesitate because I know I am busy and committing to one more thing will add pressure to my already busy life. As I think about what he's said and I even agree with him, I mentally protest. Yes, I am someone who takes on lots of projects, some because I have to and some because I want to. If I only do the things I have to do, my life would be made up of just making ends meet and getting by. To accept that would mean there is no hope for something to look forward to, something new. I can't live like that, I need more. I want a life that is extraordinary in people, in love, in experiences, in every way. To have the life I want, I have to take chances, work extra hours sometimes, I have to put myself out there to the opinions of others and likely rejection. I've failed, you all know that! You've experienced it with me with ZipperBack Gloves as one example. I've started lots of projects that never came to fruition, but I learned something or met someone each and every time. I don't know how to live my life any other way than all in. I don't start a project or investigate a new idea with the thought that it might not work. I move forward with the vision that it will work, it will succeed, it will be. In the event it is not to be, I experience that and the emotions that come with it if it comes. I suppose it's not just about being in the moment, it's about feeling what is appropriate for what is happening right now and being able to move through those highs and lows. With all of this said, I'm going to do it. I'm going to figure out what I want to do, say, and share and I'm going to do it. Yep, I am. Soon. Laughing! Real soon.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Just Keep Paddling...

This week has been OFF THE HOOK! I have been so busy getting Mason back on a schedule for school and guess what else? Football! Yep, #52 is back in action. He got the all-clear to play and not a moment too soon. His team really needs kids, so much so that they were in danger of needing to dissolve the team. Mason goes to his first practice tonight and I know it won't be easy. He's been sitting on his butt all summer long eating snacks and playing video games, to say he's out of shape would be an understatement. All the other boys have been practicing for the last few months, so he will have some catching up to do. If I were a good football mom, I would get out there and practice while he does, practice = work out at the park next to his practice field.

In the meantime, I am getting more work. I am still stuck in an escrow from hell (one bad seller/agent, same person can spoil the whole shebang) and all I pray for every night as I close my eyes is, "Dear God, please let all the lender conditions be met so my buyer can finally sign, close escrow, get their house, and I can get paid. Amen." I really shouldn't snivel, I have another one that has been a dream, great people, smooth process and in reality, may pay me before the other one that started before it. Either way, I love what I do and the people I do it with.

Now I gotta run, I have a crazy busy week and I'm setting my intention for no more problems to crop up on that one, you know, THAT one? Yeah, you know. :)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Getting Paid To Blog. Really?

It’s Monday again and I am back from Los Angeles where I attended a blogging conference. As you all well know, I’ve been writing this blog since 1999 although since it started out as a weekly email, I did not know it was a blog. In 2007 I decided to create a web presence for this little weekly journal and was able to collect 60 of the original emails between 2002-2006, while writing an opening post explaining how this all started backdated to 1999. Who would have thought that I should have archived those emails? How could I have known I would (mostly) stay on top of a weekly writing? Oh well, it is what it is and for the most part, Mason’s whole life is documented week by week - that’s cool! 

So the conference was really interesting and I absolutely took a lot away in terms of how bloggers actually make a living writing about everything under the sun. Yes, I met bloggers who write about lifestyle, food, fashion, Disney, and even a Dominatrix! Yep, she blogs about sex and the uh, interesting things people ask her to do to them for money. Writing about sex, and not just love making, her challenges have been even more than most. Can you imagine what kind of images she wants to post, or put on her marketing material? She’s even had servers shut her site down for explicit material, but what? Aren’t there porn sites all over the internet? I digress, the point is, there are many ways to monetize a blog or website, it’s just a matter of building a following and knowing what it is you are really trying to do. The next step is knowing the avenues for revenue, who are they, how do you implement them onto your site, and finally, start waking up to some newfound money in your accounts. Seriously people, it really does happen! Now all I need is an extra 3-4 hours in my already busy days to put these practices into action. Well, not for the Monday Motivator, I’ve concluded that this blog is okay just going to those of you I know and maybe a few people here or there who find it. It’s awfully personal and since it has so much of Mason’s life in it, I don’t think it’s a good thing to advertise, especially if he continues his life to be more in the public eye. People can be really mean and there is so much in this blog that could be misconstrued and taken out of context to hurt him. At some point, it may become completely private which won’t affect you, you get it via email anyway. 

In other news, this week we are celebrating Mason’s one year anniversary of winning Chopped Junior. I have been sorting through my notes and photos of all the behind the scenes stuff and posting this week on Facebook. I have the whole post in it’s entirety on Mason’s website that will be live later this week, hopefully on the 11th, the actual one year anniversary. If you don’t subscribe to his website, pop over and follow, we don’t post there a lot, but it’s good stuff when we do. Of course, Facebook is the place to be, along with Mason Partak on Instagram and @MasonPartak on twitter. From the blogging conference, I learned a ton of stuff to pass on to Mason, if he played his social media cards right, he could make a boatload of money just blogging and being a social media superstar! Let’s see if he can listen to me long enough (after all, I am his mom!) to get how simple it really is.

I’m off to a full week, Mason is back to school on Wednesday (7th grade), and I have a new listing coming on the market by the end of the week. This is in addition to the two escrows I’m working through right now, one is sailing along famously, while the other seems to have glitch after glitch. Real estate is a fickle business, the commissions appear big, but keep in mind, these are gross paychecks that require we pay taxes on them (which means, save some of that cash Kathy!), and it’s been almost five months since my last paycheck. You all know what that means, it means I have credit cards to pay off. What many of you do not know, in December/January, I was working on a listing/purchase for clients I had been working with all last year. Just when they decided at Thanksgiving to take the house off the market and try again in the spring, they got an offer. We hustled and found them a house (lots of qualifying criteria to make this happen) and while I was nearing past the middle of the escrows, their house did not appraise and the buyers walked. Well, this meant we had to cancel their purchase and that meant in one day I said good bye to two really substantial paychecks - WHILE I STILL DID OVER 12 MONTHS WORTH OF WORK. Oh, was I shouting? Yeah, still a little bit of a sore spot, but people don't understand that when it's good, it's good, but it can be bad sometimes, too. Those paychecks were planned to pay for our move, buy our new washer, dryer and kitchen appliances, and other things you need when you get a new house. Suffice it to say, all of those expenses went on credit cards so all the big bucks I may have coming in the 4th quarter will pay those bills, get me new tires on my 4Runner and I’m hoping to have some money to pay my taxes next year. Yep, I’m broke again, but it’s all good, the business is getting stronger and I will get to the point that I have a cushion and do not need to rely on the credit lines. Oh, and I can blog, too! Laughing! Happy Monday, thank you for being in my life and listening to my weekly rambling. I wish we had more time to spend together in real life, but I will take what I can get - replies to my Monday Motivator! 

Let me leave you with this from Mason’s journey to win Chopped Junior:

It was about this time one year ago that Mason, Janie, Hannah, and Dylan were having breakfast and then on their way to the Food Network studio to compete on Chopped Junior. I think my most favorite memory from this whole experience was earlier in the morning while Mason and I were getting ready to walk out the door to go down to breakfast, I said to him, "So really listen to me. I'm so proud of you, and I know you have the skills to win this competition. With that said, I want you to know you have already won by just being here and more than anything, I want you to have fun today. Take it all in and enjoy the journey. No matter what happens, set your intention to have fun." Mason replied, "Winning is fun.”

We went down to breakfast and we were all sitting at a long table and at the end was a smaller table just for two pushed up against the longer one. Mason was sitting there with Hannah's mom across from him. The kids were all nervous and really not eating or talking much when Mason piped up with, "Do you all realize that the next Chopped Junior champion is sitting at this table?" They all chimed in, "Yeah!" and Mason said, "No, THIS (as he placed both of his hands on the smaller table edges only he was sitting at) table." The room had an odd quiet for just a second and I got chills as I realized, he just really set his intention, like really SET HIS INTENTION.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Almost Time for Back to School!

It's Monday and boy is it going to be a busy one! My schedule is jam packed from 9 AM - 3:30 PM and that does not account for anything that may (will!) come up along the way. Summer is winding down as school starts for Mason next week. I'm looking forward to him being back in school in some regards, but in others, I've enjoyed being with him this summer, not having to be up and ready for school...I know lots of parents who can't wait for school to start and I've been that mom some years, but this year, it would be okay if we had a little more time.

One of the meetings we have today is with the new principal for Alta Vista elementary school, Mason and I are meeting with her to see what her plans are for continuing the education the kids are getting in the culinary sciences lab and to let her know we are still here to support her in how ever she see's she can best implement it. I still do not understand why the district is not making this a jewel in their crown and putting some money into making is more successful. Don't tell me they don't have the money, because I've been down that road and listened to them cry poor for several years. When it came right down to it and the rubber hit the road, they produced the cash to upgrade the school cafeteria (over $50K), hire a real lunch lady, and pay for all the supplies for the culinary sciences lab as the guy in charge of purchasing the cabinets, stove, etc did not utilize a single discount or donation that we arranged for, so he spent every penny of the money Mason raised with none left over to outfit the kitchen. I raised a stink and suddenly we had $5K to go shopping with. See what I mean? Where does that cash-flow come from when you've been told again and again, "We simply do not have any money." Of course, I know the answer.

So this week I am off to a conference I've been trying to get to for the last 3 or 4 years, BlogHer. I want to learn more about how women are monetizing their blogs, I've got all this content and I know if they can do it, so can I. This year it's in Los Angeles so back in December I bought my ticket and made the commitment. I'm really excited to take this trip, not only for the event, but I love to travel and solo trips are so nice sometimes. There is no need to consider any one else's needs, I can just do what I want to do, when I want to do it and right about now, that makes me very happy! What about you, do you like to travel alone?

Have a great week and I'm sure I'll have lots to share come Monday.

Monday, July 25, 2016

More Busy...

It's Monday again and though August is not even here yet, I can feel fall coming. Dave and I drove some country roads yesterday morning and some of our trees are starting to change colors and it just smelled like summer is winding down.  I don't think Mother Nature is in any hurry and it fact, I think it's just that I love fall so much, I start to look for the signs when it's the next season on deck. Yes, we see what we want to see, as we still have lots of summer left. This week it is forecast that we will see 103-106 through Friday and then we will get a break with 98 on Saturday. I was just reminding Dave that it's not on common for us to make a trip to the river to swim the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Yeah, we have plenty of fun in the sun left to enjoy here in Northern California.

Last week was jam packed with cooking demos, state fair fun, and friends. Mason cooked on Tuesday and Saturday and both demos were well done. The state fair is fun because there are always good audiences with lots of people. On Tuesday we got there early and spent the day with my friend from social media, Carolyn and her daughter Nicole. We had so much fun meeting in person and spending the day together. I've heard people say that Facebook is a time suck, and twitter is a waste of time, but the fact is, I've made real, life long friends via social media. Certainly, one could squander hours away just chiming in on posts, but I've not only made meaningful connections, I've followed them up with real-life meetings. Julianne in Minnesota, Carolyn in Canada, and Rhonda in Texas to name just a few. Social media does more good than bad in my opinion, but it does require intent and discipline. 

This week is busy, too. Mason has a two day acting workshop in Sacramento and a speaking engagement with Kiwanis in Folsom. Thank goodness he is finally walking. He's still in the boot, but he can walk short distances and we have the knee-scooter for when we have to go a little further. We see the ortho on the 11th and hopefully the X-ray will show that he's healed enough to walk without the boot. As it is, school starts on the 10th and he'll have to wear it on the first day of school.

Real estate is busy, busy, busy! I have one family in escrow who have finished their inspections and we are expecting the appraisal back today. Providing that is where it needs to be, we will remove contingencies and work toward closing in the next 10 days. I have a great property coming on the market on the 10th of August, and I’m hoping that I get an offer accepted today for another couple I am working with to become first time homeowners. I only have one other family to work with to buy in September so I think I need some more clients! Who do you know? :)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Less Busy...

It's been an unusually slow week, and can I just tell you, I liked it. When life slows down and our schedules don't pull us in a million directions, there is time to reflect and think about where you've been and where you might want to go next. I do have to disclose, Dave has not had a slow week, in fact he is working his butt off - all week, all weekend (drill) and then all week this week. It sucks when his schedule has him working 12 days right through. Sorry sweetie, but not much longer - just two more years to retirement! 

Mason is finally walking, finally! It took almost 4 weeks even with the boot the ortho gave him. It may be that he was not willing to get through the nerve sensitivity and pain to see that he actually could walk. I had a conversation with his doctor who said, "Tell Mason to walk through that tingling and stinging, it will quickly go away and he will see he can walk." It was true! Those first dozen steps seemed to be excruciating, but that was it, it went away and he was able to get back on his feet. 

As far as the slow week and the reflection, Mason talked with me about not being chosen for Next Food Network Star Kids and how disappointed he was. I pointed out that him not being cast is a blessing in light of him breaking his foot. If they had cast him, we would have had to decline as he could not have competed. I also do not think I would have quickly forgiven him for intentionally disobeying me and breaking his foot with such a big opportunity looming. In any case, he only has one more year to compete in the kid cook arena and he wants to take full advantage and audition as much as he can. As far as Network Star, it filmed 7/5-7/14 and is airing 8/22, so tune in! With that fast production schedule, they may do it again several times before he turns 13 so he's not all the way out of the race. We'll see.

Have a great week and we are back to busy. I am working real estate like crazy and this week is State Fair week for Mason. He is cooking on Tuesday and Saturday, and we are headed to Alameda on Wednesday to see David and Lisa who are visiting from Mexico.  I'm meeting with my Facebook friend Carolyn at the fair on Tuesday, she and her daughter are on vacation from Canada. It's so cool when we make virtual friends and then we get to meet in real life! Thursday I'm representing the Mandarin Festival at the Chamber mixer and Saturday Mason is back cooking at the fair. Yep, it doesn't stay slow for long on Partak Island!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Does Size Matter With Success? YES!

This week was unusually slow and quiet. Mason is still not walking so we are not doing our usual trips to the river or pool, he's not riding his bike or doing much with his friends. One of his friends came and slept over and it was nice to see him having some fun.

Dave is enjoying his baby and he is fitting right in with our family. I don't think I have ever seen such a foodie dog as Gunner! He is potty training beautifully and even helping to get the old man, Spencer to go potty where we want him to go instead of on the patio.

I've been busy this year working with clients to be ready to buy and sell. Finally, we have reached the point that my buyers are qualified and we opened escrow on Wednesday. My sellers are getting close, too, they are finalizing repairs and the new carpet goes in on 8/9 and then we can list! I also have another family who got the promotion they were waiting for so they are meeting with their loan officer again to get their pre qualification so we can start shopping. My last two quarters of this year should be off the hook.

I came across this quote from 2010, it's something I said during a challenging time. I'm sharing it because I love that my girl friend Juli shared an equally important perspective and not only do I want it in my life journal forever, I'm thinking you will all agree that she is spot on!

"I don't think the important parts of life happen when you succeed. I believe they come when you falter, or fall off the wagon and manage to get back up and stay the course. Getting back on track and seeing something through is far more rewarding than doing something that was too easy to begin with."

Here's how the comments went:

Juli  But it's so much more fun when success comes easily! 🙂
LikeReply44 minsEdited
Renee That seems to only happen for a select few.
LikeReply141 mins
Kathy Partak I agree, but I don't think I remember easy successes the same way I do the ones that challenge me.
LikeReply141 mins
Juli We all have success each day -- some large and some small. I think it's important to recognize them, even when they're small, and acknowledge a job well done. For example, last night I was exhausted and decided to clean up the kitchen instead of continuing on a physically demanding project. I got the kitchen cleaned and floor swept. It was a small success but it was good to recognize that I did it instead of just going to bed. I realize you're probably talking more about big successes like job promotions, successful relationships, reaching goals, etc. but don't forget about the little ones that take place every day. It's good to recognize things that may net seem like a "success" and pat yourself on the back. We all have those. Renee, you did a couple of amazing things like week by making a critical meeting happen AND helping your sister. Most people would have just blown off one of them but you successfully did both and did them well. Kathy, oh my goodness, I see little success happen DAILY with you. Just because they seem to be easy, you should still take the time to recognize them. I know they aren't as memorable as the ones that are hard, but they're still wonderful and amazing. And they add up!
UnlikeReply118 mins
Kathy Partak Juli  You're the best! I love you and I agree with you 100%!!!!
LikeReply116 mins
Juli Thanks Kathy. Now I have to get back on the physically demanding large project. When I complete that, I will consider it a huge and memorable success!

Don't you agree, the little successes, though may not be as memorable, are as or more important to acknowledge than the big ones that require lots of energy and work? I do and I love that many of my friends are like minded and remind me to tune in and be present. In fact, if you know me, you know I love ordinary, I love the moments we laugh cooking in the kitchen, the time Dave snaps a photo of me sleeping on the couch with Spencer, or when we all eat something different because nobody wants to cook and we settle in to watch tv together.

Happy Monday! It's 7/11 and that means free Slurpees at 7-11. I am going to take Mason with me to run some errands, grab some lunch out and get a free Slurpee. Make today great and pay attention to the small successes, revel in them and treat yourself to a Slurpee.

**Renee has a website with all the happenings in Auburn, check it out at and Juli is an amazing designer of all things - logos, ads, art, you name it, she can create it. Check out her portfolio here.