On our national parks tour, 2012

On our national parks tour, 2012

I live a country-paced life in the city, specifically in Green Lake in a half-finished house.  Interests include:  Iyengar yoga, letter press, paint sketches, classic cocktails and reading.  My kids are 16 and 18, my husband is a poly-hobbyist.  I love spending time with people who are figuring out how to live life their way.  Being a new-fashioned Girl Friday is my dream job.



My 40th birthday, in Greece

My 40th birthday, in Greece

Some of the Basics

Born in Portland, grew up in Alaska
Attended Pacific Lutheran University

Married in 1996 to Alex MacLeod
Two kids:  Birch (girl) and Finlay (boy)

Heroes:  Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Tina Fey, Andrew Weil, Stephen Covey, Thich Nhat Hanh, Nur Jahan
Travels:  Italy, Greece, Scotland, Japan, Norway, Mexico
Proud of:  learning electrical work & running 3 half marathons
Working on:  growing flowers, cooking more soup

Lived in Seattle since 1995, in our home since 1999

The Back Story

My dad was fond of the question, "If everybody is jumping off a bridge, are you going to do it too?"

He moved to the wilderness when I was 7 because he liked the clean air and didn't like cities.  I lived with him part-time, where days were spent doing what was needed -- cutting fish, chopping wood, making bread seven loaves at a time -- and nights were for thinking up new projects to do and dreaming for fun. 

With my mom, it was a different story.  She lived in the city.  Education, travel, and the arts were often on her mind, despite her very meager income.  We learned to volunteer-usher to see plays, bargain shop, and search for scholarships wherever possible.  When I heard about a high school trip to Washington D.C., I went to the meeting, having no idea of the cost, assuming I could find a way to go.  Sure enough, after a little paperwork, the fees were totally covered and I got to join my classmates in seeing the capitol and meeting our senator.

Be different.  It's fun to dream.  Find resources.  It's okay to want more.  Make plans.  Do the work.  These lessons were strangely consistent between my parents, despite their very different worlds.  

Although I'm grateful for this legacy now, it wasn't always so easy.  As a teenager, it was hard to be different than the group.  Additionally, my parents both erred on the side of dreaming over doing.  I've looked at dozens of detailed architecture plans of cabins never built.  And listened to hours and hours of creative projects yet to be started.  

I left for college at 16.  As an education major, the central skill was to identify the objectives, and figure out all the steps in order to achieve that result.  It required thinking about your students' abilities and learning styles, as well as the logistics.  It was gratifying to turn ideas into action, over and over.  As an art major, being different became an asset.  Uniqueness started to feel more comfortable.

Digging trenches and doing electrical work, 2011

Digging trenches and doing electrical work, 2011

As an adult, I started to apply the methods from studying education to making personal goals happen, for myself and others.  What?  You want to move to Hawaii?  Buy a house?  Let's sit down and figure it out!  It became a habit to read any books related to this process -- behavioral science, best business practices, psychology, etc.  

After getting married, having two kids and buying a home, it didn't make sense to go back to teaching.  For over 5 years, I searched steadily for my next career.  Organizational development?  Statistician?  Community college teacher?  In 2012, I embarked on 6 volunteer internships to figure it out.  All the while, I was helping people with taxes, making resumes, or cleaning out basements.

Things came into place one day in my neighbor's attic.  We would sometimes meet to compare notes on work ventures - her new consulting business, and my job search and interning.  I ended up helping her start her web site, including writing her bio.  At the end, she kindly offered, "Next time we should spend more time on you.  I want you to be getting something out of our meetings."

"Actually, this is what I love to do."  It suddenly clicked.  People who work for themselves are my kind of people.  And, they are invested in turning ideas into action.  I was giddy at the thought.  I started my Girl Friday work within a few weeks.  And have been giddy ever since.

: )  Jenny

Van Gogh's Sunflowers in Philadelphia.  Traveling to see historical art is a new pursuit.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers in Philadelphia.  Traveling to see historical art is a new pursuit.