101 Carlsbad Memories

Life is short, life is sweet. Remember the little things.

As we prepare for our move to the east coast, the following moments, memories, and events are listed (mainly for our benefit) in no particular order – but should all be preserved and celebrated as some of the best times of our lives together. Thanks 6337 Paseo Aspada for the memories…

  1. Visiting the ‘tot lot’ a few times during the long escrow period during the winter of 2011-2012
  2. Peacocks in the back yard that started out as a novelty, but ended up as a nuisance
  3. The Rancho Carrillo community pool
  4. Bringing Phoebe home from the hospital
  5. Walking to “school” (Kindercare)
  6. Trick-or-treating
  7. Dancing, lots of dancing
  8. Bad DJs and cliche songs from the weddings / events at Carrillo Ranch
  9. Flippin Pizza (and dance parties)
  10. Playing ball, remote controlled cars, and riding bikes in the cul-de-sac
  11. Two-year-old Will chasing two pre-teen neighbor girls on their bikes yelling, “girls, wait for meeee!”
  12. Long walks with Lilly on the trails around the neighborhood
  13. Shorter walks with a less-than-trained Scout
  14. Hosting Christmas dinners with extended family
  15. Will’s 3rd birthday party at the community clubhouse
  16. Jumping around
  17. Living room dance parties
  18. Trips around the block in the “blue car” (Mustang)
  19. The HGTV backyard remodel
  20. Reading books in the bean bag chair
  21. Miguel’s, Casa de Bandini, Garcia’s, Norte
  22. Breakfast burritos from Roberto’s
  23. Will sleeping on his floor after a failed conversion to a toddler bed
  24. La Costa Coffee Roasting
  25. Trader Joe’s oatmeal, a million trips to Sprouts
  26. Impulse purchases from Costco
  27. Beach days – South Ponto, Carlsbad Village
  28. Night swims
  29. Santa photos at the Carlsbad Outlets & Forum
  30. Phoebe’s First Steps
  31. Phoebe’s Second Birthday party
  32. In-N-Out for easy dinner
  33. Cardiff Crack on the grill
  34. Growing our own tomatoes
  35. Favorite teachers from Kindercare: Ms. Danielle, Ms. Lauren, Ms. April, Ms. Shauna
  36. Date nights down to San Diego and La Jolla
  37. Playing with Will’s train table
  38. Pool time with Joe / Beth and family followed by grilling and dinner
  39. Cruisin’ Grand
  40. Vista Farmer’s Market: strawberries, apples from Smits Orchard, local honey
  41. Driving the 101 for fun
  42. Taking the long way home (101) so the kids could sleep
  43. Sleeping in on Saturdays (just kidding, that never happened)
  44. Day trips to Disneyland & Legoland
  45. Del Mar Horse Races (& more dancing)
  46. Annual passes SD Zoo Safari Park & SD Zoo
  47. Inflatable backyard pool redefining Sunday Funday (pre-drought)
  48. Catching bugs, lizards, and snails
  49. Keeping bugs, lizards, and snails out of the house
  50. Carlsbad Half Marathon
  51. Beach runs
  52. Yard work
  53. Kids Club at 24 Hour Fitness
  54. Driveway movie night
  55. Rich and Diane visiting
  56. Babicka and Dedicek driving from Texas
  57. Visits from Paul, Johnny, Kara & Mike, Ben & Dana
  58. Running the air conditioner in November and February (but not in June)
  59. Strolling Carlsbad Village
  60. Carlsbad Flower Fields
  61. The Great Mouse-capade (“you played field hockey, didn’t you?”)
  62. Spinning vinyl records in the garage
  63. Working on Mom’s ’67 Mustang
  64. Taco Tuesdays
  65. Playing acoustic gigs at the Belching Beaver
  66. Getting a pint (or two) at Pizza Port
  67. Soapy Joe’s Car Wash
  68. Will’s first movie in the theater (Monster’s U) – Edwards Cinemas San Marcos
  69. Will’s second movie in the theater (Big Hero 6) – Edwards Cinemas San Marcos
  70. Games, movies, and Netflix on the iPad
  71. Saturday morning jam sessions
  72. Football Sundays
  73. Karate class in Carlsbad Village
  74. Don’s Country Kitchen
  75. Reading the newspaper on Saturday mornings (sometimes)
  76. CBS Sunday Morning
  77. Binge watching Breaking Bad
  78. Finishing Mad Men (started watching when we lived on Dumas)
  79. Bath time conversations
  80. Finding Nemo, Toy Story (1 and 2), Frozen
  81. Octonauts, Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street
  82. James Taylor at the Hollywood Bowl (Babi and Dedi stayed with the kids)
  83. Making movies with the GoPro
  84. Babysitters: Staci, Hannah, Danielle, Paige
  85. Alga Norte park and swimming pool
  86. Stagecoach Park
  87. Mariah’s Westwind for breakfast
  88. Eggs, tortilla, cheese, salsa, repeat
  89. Breakfast for dinner
  90. French toast for the kids
  91. Good times with the Szepes
  92. La Costa Pre-New Year’s Stay-cation
  93. Picnics in the yard
  94. Just another day at the kitchen table
  95. Sleeping with the windows open year round
  96. Great neighbors: Ginger & Mike, MS & Maria, Jose, Mike & Wa, Kevin & Martha, Mike & Tina, Jeannette and her dog Chloe, Travis & Indira, those people who we could never remember their names
  97. Toni & Wayne Kanakaris (who treat us like family)
  98. Playing with Myah, Sean, and the other neighborhood kids
  99. Sean’s dad Mike reminding us how short and precious life is
  100. Every day that we were healthy and happy
  101. Remembering that “Life is rad in Carlsbad”


Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. — John F. Kennedy

It seems fitting that I should find a quote from John F. Kennedy to help explain the change happening in our lives. We’re headed to JFK’s part of the world, after all.

After nearly 17 years in San Diego (8 of those with Danielle), we’ve decided to pack up and move east. We make this announcement with a mix of emotions: excitement, exhilaration, trepidation, sadness, and hope (among others, of course).

Some will ask why we’d ever want to leave sunny San Diego. We’ve worked hard to build our careers here, have a strong network of friends, and now have years of fantastic family memories. Every weekend is like its own little “staycation” with day trips to the beach and all the attractions that this town has to offer.

But a few things are missing. Growing up, both Danielle and I had the privilege of living close to our grandparents. I remember seeing my grandparents at nearly every school function – band concerts, football games, track meets – you name it. They were always present.

More importantly, nearly all special holidays were spent with family. Of course the big ones – Christmas, Easter, New Years – but for me, even a routine Sunday would typically involve time with our grandparents. Church, Sunday dinner, and watching the Cowboys play (and usually lose).

By contrast, in San Diego we’ve spent a lot of those special days on our own. We’re grateful for all the friends who have invited us to be with them and their families for those special times. We’ve spent countless holidays with the Johnson/Mestre/Renovales clan over the years – and we will always remember and appreciate feeling like a part of their extended family. We have fond memories of holidays and events with the Caffos (our next door neighbors in Point Loma). More recently, we’ve become very close with Toni & Wayne – our neighbors in Carlsbad who treat Will and Phoebe like their own grandchildren. And reaching way back – I remember “The Orphans” Thanksgiving Day dinner with Colin Farnell at Hennessey’s in PB, which morphed into a full-blown Thanksgiving once we were both married and had children.

So now it’s our turn to spend time with our family. This move will make a routine Sunday into a family event. We’ll be close to Danielle’s parents and sister (and her family). We’ll spend time in the places where she grew up. Our kids will learn to swim at the beach where she learned to swim (although Will has already done quite well in the Rancho Carrillo pool). We’ll reconnect with her childhood friends and know the feeling of being in a tight-knit community. We’ll be in a small town – something that Danielle and I know well from our childhood, and enjoyed as youngsters. Finally, we’ll be in a better position to visit Texas and spend more time with my parents and our friends and family there.

While we’re sad to leave all the incredible memories and close friends here in San Diego, we’re looking forward to a new adventure, exploring a new region, and spending time with family. And of course, Southern California will always be a part of who we are, how we found each other and started this great life together.

A few of the FAQs that we expect from those who know us best:

Are you crazy?
Yes, yes we are.

Do you know that they have real winters in Boston?
Yes. At least some of us are aware of this. Others, not so much. We’ll all have to adjust. L.L. Bean is just a click away these days.

Where are you headed?
Scituate, Massachusetts. A quaint seaside fishing town of just under 20,000 residents about 45 minutes south of Boston and 45 minutes from Cape Cod. Scituate is the New England town you see in the movies. A town full of history, full of stories, and less than 30 minutes from Plymouth Rock – where the Mayflower landed and the Pilgrims settled.

Scituate is the kind of place where they hold events for the entire town – Fourth of July Parades, Heritage Days, and a St. Patrick’s Day parade for the most Irish town in America. It’s also a place where (sadly) good Mexican food will be in short supply.

Why Scituate?
As most of you know, my parents still live in the house where I was raised near Dallas (very similar to Danielle’s situation in Scituate). Of course the topic of Texas vs Massachusetts was a big part of our discussion around leaving San Diego — and was one of the reasons why we’ve waited until now to make that decision. By leaving San Diego, we were in essence making a choice – a choice of one location over another, but also spending lots more time with one set of grandparents and still having to travel to see the other side of the family. While that part of the decision wasn’t easy, moving to either location will free up opportunities to see both sides of the family – and will hopefully lead to more holidays and vacations with everyone, including in-laws, together.

What about your house?
That one was easy. With the limited inventory in Carlsbad, specifically Rancho Carrillo – we put the house on the market and it sold within a matter of days. So fast that we actually had to work a rent-back into the agreement so we could stay through the month of July.

When are you leaving?
July 27 for the kids and Danielle; Aug 2 for John.

Are you ever coming back?
Only time will tell. I’m hopeful that we can be in a position financially to own a second home here someday. And there’s a chance that we may retire here when it’s all said and done. In the meantime, I’m certain we’ll work San Diego into the family vacation rotation on a regular basis. We’ll also keep our condo in Mission Valley that is currently rented, so we’ll have to come back and check on that as well.

San Diego will always hold a special place in my heart. I still remember the feeling I got when I first drove over the last set of mountains on Interstate 8 and saw the city limits sign (that was December of 1998) to take my first set of orders in the Navy. Those first few years are a blur now, but I also remember the feeling of coming back from deployment and reaching “One SD” – that’s the buoy that marks the entrance to the San Diego harbor. Sailing back into the Big Bay on a Navy warship was always a fun experience. My first apartment at La Mirage, a two year tour of duty in Coronado, my first house purchase in La Mesa, Vegas quick strikes, Skip’s Garage at Thruster’s, Pickford’s Party at the Mammoth Lodge and at RT’s Longboard (which then morphed into the machine known as Rock Out Karaoke), a two year shore duty in Point Loma, living three blocks from the beach in PB (where I proposed to Danielle), our first date at Cass Street Bar and Grill, our house on Dumas Street in Point Loma where we brought Will home from the hospital, our first home purchase together in Carlsbad where Phoebe joined our family, beach days, pool nights, cruising the historic 101 – these and so many others were all great experiences over the years.

A lot has changed since I first arrived in 1998, but my love for this town and its people will remain. Thanks for the support, thanks for the memories, and you stay classy, San Diego.

CEOs Sometimes Need Outside Help

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

We know we want leaders who are smart, decisive, transformative, and possessed of a singular vision. But there’s an often-overlooked factor that can make the difference between success and failure: a leader’s ability to go far outside the organization—mobilizing networks of critical expertise—to get help in solving problems.

Outside the organization? Why would the CEO of a huge corporation with vast capabilities need to look elsewhere for assistance? If outside help is truly needed, doesn’t that say something pretty negative about the CEO’s own staff and existing supply chain?

The reality today is that businesses, governments, and nonprofits are so complex and often must move so quickly that in many cases, finding answers to difficult questions requires tapping experts, service providers, and innovators scattered all over the world.

As Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems, pointed out years ago, “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people don’t…

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Is Your Company Ready for the Looming Talent Drought?

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

Even if your firm has a healthy employee base and a strong balance sheet, chances are good that it’s about to face a significant shortage of qualified managers. I reached that conclusion in 2007, after working with Nitin Nohria, the current dean of Harvard Business School, and colleagues at the executive search firm Egon Zehnder to gauge the effects of three factors — globalization, demographics, and leadership pipelines — on competition for senior talent in large organizations. We studied 47 companies, spanning all major sectors and geographies. The results were dire: Only 15% of the firms in the Americas and Asia, and less than a third of those in Europe, had enough people primed to lead them into the future. New survey and research data we have compiled show that the situation has grown even worse.

Globalization compels companies to reach beyond their home markets to do business and…

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12 Things Good Bosses Believe

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

What makes a boss great? It’s a question I’ve been researching for a while now. In June 2009, I offered some analysis in HBR on the subject, and more recently I’ve been hard at work on a book called Good Boss, Bad Boss (published in September by Business Plus).

In both cases, my approach has been to be as evidence-based as possible. That is, I avoid giving any advice that isn’t rooted in real proof of efficacy; I want to pass along the techniques and behaviors that are grounded in sound research. It seems to me that, by adopting the habits of good bosses and shunning the sins of bad bosses, anyone can do a better job overseeing the work of others.

At the same time, I’ve come to conclude that all the technique and behavior coaching in the world won’t make a boss great if that boss doesn’t also…

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Why I Tell My Employees to Bring Their Kids to Work

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

I am the CEO of a fast-growing high-tech company. I’m also a mother of three boys, ages 9, 7, and 4, and I pride myself on being very involved in their lives. I have had to juggle kids and career for the last 10 years, and I cannot separate work and home life, as I’ve found that creates too much stress and pressure. Instead, I integrate both, bringing kids to work and work to home as I need to. This has worked so well for me, and Palo Alto Software, that it has become part of our company culture.

No, we don’t bring our children into the office every single day, and by no means have we used this freedom as a daycare replacement. But, when the nanny needs an afternoon off, school is suddenly canceled, or someone’s child is not feeling great, we welcome and encourage them to spend…

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To Create Change, Leadership Is More Important Than Authority

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

Aspiring junior executives dream of climbing the ladder to gain more authority.  Then they can make things happen and create the change that they believe in.  Senior executives, on the other hand, are often frustrated by how little power they actually have.

The problem is that, while authority can compel action, it does little to inspire belief.  It’s not enough to get people to do what you want, they also have to want what you want — or any change is bound to be short lived.

That’s why change management efforts commonly fail.  All too often, they are designed to carry out initiatives that come from the top.  When you get right down to it, that’s really the just same thing as telling people to do what you want, albeit in slightly more artful way.  To make change really happen, it doesn’t need to be managed, but empowered. That’s the…

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A Tool That Maps Out Cultural Differences

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

Understanding cultural differences isn’t easy, even when you’ve lived in many different countries (disclosure: I’m a Brit, grew up in Southeast Asia, lived and worked in Switzerland and the US, and now live and work in France). Just when you think you’ve got a culture nailed, something happens that your mental model hasn’t predicted.

Americans, world-famous for candor and directness, struggle when it comes to giving tough feedback, even when it’s needed. The French, on the other hand, who are famous for their insistence on good manners (just feel the vibe when you forget to say bonjour to your boulanger), revel in their harsh critiques. Paradoxes like this crop up all the time, and obviously they’re a good source of anecdotes. But in a business world that increasingly relies on culturally mixed workforces and teams, they’re also recipes for failure.

Erin Meyer, an American (from Minnesota) in Paris who coaches…

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The Strategic Mistake Almost Everybody Makes

Evolve or die…

HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review

“It is simple math,” the strategist said in a tone that sounded suspiciously similar to how I explain things to my six-year-old daughter. “Decreasing churn by a percent — a single percent! — creates tens of millions of dollars of value. A point of market share creates five times that amount. Our growth investments are years from providing that kind of return.”

The general point is right — a dollar of investment in incrementally improving the core is almost always going to earn a greater near-term return than a dollar invested in a growth business that might take years to incubate. It’s one reason why it is so critical that companies begin to invest in growth before they need growth so they create space and time for those investments to mature.

Unfortunately, few companies do that. Instead…

“So,” the strategist continued. “If we just take our investment in innovation and…

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