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Rocky Horror at the Del Mar

This post is about parenting, police, and a healthy dose of humor and gratitude.

My daughter has reached the age where she likes to go out with her friends on her own. I knew this would come, it always does, right? I did it. In fact, when I was much younger than her, I was sneaking out of my house, going to parties with my friends, drinking wine coolers and “cruising the loop”. Ah, the joys of rural, small-town teenage life! So, yeah, I knew this time would come. I’ve prepared myself for it. My daughter and I have talked about it, adnauseum- the requisite conversations about not getting into cars with drunk people, about letting me know where she is at all times, about calling me if she’s in trouble… no matter what. So far, so good. She’s been open and honest with me and I’ve trusted her.

So on that Wednesday, as we assembled her costume- a bustier, stockings, lacy dance shorts and character shoes- her plans for that weekend’s performance of Rocky Horror were revealed to me. I was shocked to learn the plan she had cooked up with her friend. He would meet her the Louden Nelson Community Center theatre, where she was in a production of the Addams Family, after the show ended. They would walk 4 blocks to the Del Mar and then wait in line for two hours for the show to start. I couldn’t chaperone this episode because I would be home with my sleeping toddler. Of course, I immediately overreacted (whoops) and a long Mother-Daughter “Discussion” ensued, complete with statements like “You’re not walking downtown at 10 pm to stand in line for two hours, in that costume!” and retorts like “I’m going to wear a big, long coat, Mom. We will be in a line with 200 other people, nothing is going to happen.”  So, of course, I brought in The Dad. He spoke with her by phone, privately, in her room, I could hear little segments of her hysterical end of the conversation for a while. Then, we all slept on it.

The next day I brought in The Other Moms and The Empowered Women. They confirmed what I knew. My intuition was correct. And when we were together again, I said what I should have said, all along. I managed to get out a calm, cool and collected version of “My job is to keep you safe, and this makes my motherly intuition crawl. So I’m saying now, unless there is an adult chaperone, you aren’t going to Rocky.”

Fans wait outside the Del Mar Theatre, hoping for good seats at the Saturday night showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Photo by Devika Agarwal.

Luckily, Dad came to the rescue. We made a plan that he would follow the kids from the theatre to the theater in his car. Then he would sit outside, in his car, while she waited in line, and then head home when she was safely inside. Seems like a good plan, right? Complete with independence, skimpy costumes, walking downtown at night and a big daddy in the car just off to the distance, in case anything might happen. Haha! The best laid plans…

About half way through those two hours, Dad was settled in for the long haul when a police officer walked up to his car, knocked on the window and asked him to get out of the car. After performing the usual identity checks the officer told him that the employees at the theater had called in a report of a creepy old guy sitting across the street from the Del Mar, watching the kids in line for Rocky Horror. Oops! Turns out our idea was super creepy, who woulda thunk?

After a few minutes of explanations, mainly Dad telling the officer that one of those kids in line was his, that she had a worried mama sitting at home with a sleeping toddler, that he was there to keep an eye on her, Dad was allowed to resume his watch. This time, knowing the police were there to protect our kids. That they cared, just as much as the parents did, that the tradition of midnight showings of Rocky at The Del Mar Theater was an activity that our kids could safely attend, without fear of being caught up in the unsafe nightlife so pervasive on Pacific Avenue after dark. I know there were other places in Santa Cruz the women and men in blue uniforms could have been that night. But I’m glad they were hanging out at the Del Mar.

Many thanks to the Santa Cruz Police and the Del Mar Theater for offering a fun event and for keeping our kids safe in their community. Santa Cruz is truly an awesome town!


Girls in Tech First Annual Retreat

Johanna by jdlasica. Johanna Werther, product marketing manager for admob.

Johanna by jdlasica. Johanna Werther, product marketing manager for admob.

Saturday October 10 was the inaugural Girls in Tech Managing Directors Retreat. The retreat was held at the University Center on the campus of UCSC. Seana Norvell planned and executed the retreat with the grace and efficiency of a seasoned event coordinator. From the casual mixer at Cafe Mare the evening before to the little bags of saltwater taffys and mini steno pads for note taking at our seats, Seana manged to make each participant feel welcome and included.

The speakers and workshops were excellent and the highlight of the day was resoundingly the public speaking course taught by Kristin Schaefer and Bronwyn Saglimbeni. Another fave was the VP of New Business Development at Google and General Manager of Google.Org Megan Smith, Megan gave an inspiring talk surrounding the web, interconnectedness and online activism. I was pleased to have the opportunity to catch Megan afterward for some one on one time in which we shared our passion for helping people and discovered a common influence  – our activist mothers. Not least was the fireside chat with the newly annointed VP of Innovation for Plantronics Joyce Shimizu and Priya Ganapati of WIRED. I have a soft spot for Plantronics as they are both a local Santa Cruz company and a former client of mine. I really enjoyed listening to Joyce discourse on motherhood, product launches and successfully navaigating a 26 year long career in a tech related field. Her secret? A short priority list consisting of work, health and family. I could indeed learn a lot from her.

I really enjoyed meeting all of the managing directors from other chapters as well as the founder Adriana Gascoigne. One take away that I had is that GIT needs more women who are building the tech to get involved.

So here’s a challenge to my super geeky girlfriends: Show the world that girls build cool things and are innovators to society’s needs by becoming active in a group that promotes women in non traditional fields such as GIT.

What do you have to lose? Perhaps only the impression that girls simply like to play with tech, rather than create it.

Blog & Breakfast Thursdays

Members sitting in the Cafe at NextSpace actively blogging.

Members sitting in the Cafe at NextSpace actively blogging.

One of my favorite things about our community at NextSpace is watching the users define the experience. Today we kicked-off a community blogging event that many hope will spread across the globe. Spawned from a conversation between members Mahesh Grossman and Margaret Rosas, the idea is to provide a forum for people to get a weekly blog post out. By providing an incentive (breakfast), a goal (hitting the “update post” button) and a sense of belonging (many people gathered with an in kind goal) this event will serve to ease the self-induced pressure many people feel about getting their blog posts out.

While this version is local to NextSpace, the idea clearly has legs. A global “Blog and Tweet Thursday” movement just might take off. While the official Twitter hashtag has not actually been set, the two most popular are #babt (Blog and Breakfast Thursday) and #batt (Blog and Tweet Thursday). Mahesh thinks that it would be most powerful if people across the world were blogging and retweeting each others’ blogs at the same time and prefers the pure #babt. Margaret suggested the more global #batt. After all 8 am PST might be breakfast time here in California but it could be an early lunch in Maine and supper time in Tanzania. Looks like it might be a while before we get this one worked out. In the meantime it will be great to see people supported in posting regular web log updates. For instance this is my first one ever!

If you would like to join us, pop on up at 8 am on a Thursday morning. We’ll go till 9:30 officially, but you can stay as long as it takes to hit that update post button. As always, non-members are welcome to join us by purchasing a $10 day pass.

Ciao peeps, but only for now.