Author Archives: Harbridge Christina

The Blue Lady

“What day is it mommy?”
“What do we do on Wednesdays?”
Well. Hmmm. It just so happens that tonight is do-whatever-we-want-to Wednesday. What do you want to do Sebastian?
“Take a new car to Opa’s house and go to the beach and have hot chocolate.”
(Opa wasn’t home.. El Granada was still beautiful.)

The Miramar Beach Inn is a perfect spot for W-W-C-D-W-W-W nights. We had a yummy meal, the waiter told us ghost stories of the Blue Lady who haunts the place and after dinner we sat outside under a blanket next to a fire watching the ocean. Yum.
My favorite part? All the romance around us. Couples nuzzling under blankets enjoying the scene. Sebastian saying loudly, “Wow, they must be really cold.”

Driving back over highway 1, Sebastian fell asleep within about 8 seconds and snored for the entire drive home.

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North Beach Cry Baby

I need a little help here.

Why do parents hush their children when the tears come? A three year old little boy bumps his back on the right side in a painful place. He wails “owwweeee.”

One parents says, “You’ll be okay honey. Do you want me to look at it?”  The other parent says, “Stop crying.”

Why?  Why, in his own home, where we can’t possibly be bothering anyone, are we hushed?   Is crying some sign of weakness or something?  Are we afraid that this little boy will be teased at school, if he doesn’t learn to control his tears.

I have watched this happen over and over again. I’m not being critical of parenting here, I am looking to understand this phenononem. It is healthy to cry. Healthy.

I figure if I had done a little more crying as a kid, I wouldn’t have been so devastated when Wham broke up. Okay, I’m kind of kidding with that one.  

I sit in conference rooms and watch us control our emotions all day long. Why? What is so scary about being what we are feeling?

I listened to two poets last night at the North Beach Library.  Blake More read 6 poems that caused the audience to throw their head back in laughter and well their eyes up in tears.  Only a stanza apart, the emotion is what made the evening so perfect.   My friends John and Luke had convulsions when she mentioned “Camel Toe” in a poignant poem about peace.    Moments later, Blake’s beloved Chris, was caned by an elderly woman in a beret.  It seems he backed into her while telling the story of another elderly woman swimming over him in an open swim race.   The timing (and emotion) was perfect.   He was beaten by a cane in the abdomen as we sat in horror for a second and spasmotically laughing in the next.

I looked around the room.   Emotion bonged around that room like a pinball Cirqus Voltaire Pinball Machine.   The emotion-o meter peaked in that moment and slowly waned over seltzer water and lemon as the night wore on, the once loud crackle of the ice in the first pour, settling into a quiet fizz as  dinner  arrived.

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Avoid Conflict Resolution

Avoid conflict resolution? What?

Yup. What the world needs now is more conflict.

I’m not talking war, violence, road rage… those things are the result of not enough early conflict.  What happens with humans is we stop having a real interaction with people the moment we let a conflict sit there undiscussed.  We resolve the conflict rather than having a conversation that leads to understanding.   (and oh my gosh, maybe even seeing that we have spinach in our teeth.)

When we avoid conflict, our brain starts noticing all the ways that person meets our typecast. We then begin collecting stories that match our perception. Sooner or later: Whammo.

We need more conversations and fewer confrontations.  Talk about things sooner.  More conflict.

Most companies spend tons of money teaching their executive team to become skilled at conflict resolution. Be careful. The only true asset of an executive team is information. Information that is as pure as possible. Often the only way to get that information is to see potential conflict that is being hushed. The best skill is to be able to watch people and convince them to provide the conflicting information. The challenge with most conflict resolution and tough question lessons is they are way too controlled and contrived.

The best thing an executive can have is a messy conversation. Conversations are messy. It doesn’t matter how messy the information comes to an executive – it is a gift that leads to better decisions.

The person with the most verbal influence (and likely the same style as the executive) often leads the decision.  We need to start listening to the people who are not talking.   (And to the person who is talking and doesn’t do it in the right way.)

A traditional conflict resolution calms everyone down.  We normalize.  Control.  Avoid.  Pacify.   Use ‘models’ that are transparent and trigger our physiology and reduce our ability to understand. 

Next time someone steps on your foot, just ask them to get off.  Don’t fluff their aura, tell them they have nice shoes – just tell them in the moment rather than typecasting them for 3 months each time their foot gets tenuously near your little pitties.

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I’m yours

I am often rushing. Yesterday I decided to get a cup of coffee and sit on a bench in an alley by my office. The bench has a sculpture of a man and a woman reading a baby book.
Sitting on the bench I am thinking about life. Love. Happiness. A kid in a baseball cap walks toward me and sits on the bench. He is about 12 (likely more like 25.) He starts playing his guitar. Turns to me. Sings a song I have never heard. For about 4 minutes or so. I’m sitting there tearing up. He ends. I am speechless.
“What is that song”
“That is your song. Have a great day.”
He gets up and walks away. I am aghast. Minutes later I wonder if it really happened.
I love this generation. The random way they interact. I’ve done a lot of street performance where we entertained.. .this little Flash Guitar was something else.
Made my day.
I’ll talk about it when my teeth are sitting in a glass at my bedside.

Thank you young man.

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My sister is brilliant

My sister is always saying things that make the think:

Seems to me the underdog makes that win more than the
existing champion because the underdog is working toward
something, not afraid in defending something… -Leta D.

SO true!!

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I’m sorry, so sorry

If you read both my blog and my ‘facebook’ you are about to get a repeat.

My new favorite human. The alopecia lyric nearly knocked me to the ground. Reminded me of ….

watch past 51 seconds.. you will get it

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Wisdom at 3am

My son woke up in the middle of the night and crawled down to my office. Somehow he knows now when I am up in the middle of the night working. (I have insomnia – I get up every night at 2:30am or 3am.) He brings a blanket over next to me and sleeps there for the night.

After about an hour he started saying something. Emphatic. Over and over. “xlkasjldf” “XKLASJLDF” “XSKASJLDF!!!!”

I’m thinking perhaps my little 3 year old is telling me the meaning of life. I get close to him and put my ear next to his mouth.


Oh. I got him one. He went back to sleep. I went back to work.

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A spoonful of my own

There is a relationship between risk/innovation/mistakes/failure.

I failed last week at something I wanted to go well. I spent all of Saturday in my head beating myself up…

Waste of time. Doesn’t make me better. Self indulgent.  I’m sitting there at a campsite with 20 or so kids and distracted in my head by something I “tried” that did not work the way I wanted it to.

Innovation only happens on the heels of the things that didn’t go well. Yet, I am seduced by doing things the same so I don’t feel like an ass when it doesn’t work out.

I fear I might become my own little strip mall.  Vanilla and repeatable.

When traveling I purposely avoid strip mall eating and instead try to find something untried and potentially scary.   I risk my evening tummy for an avoidance of the known and average.    25% of the time I am pleased, 15% of the time I get sick and the other percentage no change.

Risk was easier, BB.  (before baby)  Now that I am the sole financial support of this little guy and his Harvard college education I am often afraid of risk.  Of losing a client, messing up his life.   I get hobbled by this.

So do the organizations I work in.  We get hobbled when we have something we could lose.  We go to the known so we can be safe.

Safe may be warm and cozy – it isn’t as interesting.   Or is it?  Am I just a product of my childhood?  My sister and didn’t just  go around on the merry-go-round  – we had to invent knew ways of throwing that ring into the mouth of the clown.   It was much more fun that way and she was a lot better at it. Each rotation we had a new way of hanging off the side of that horse – until they kicked us off after a couple of warnings.

Rambling.    I must get a better relationship with failure.

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Don’t it turn my brown eyes blue

I have a secret to tell you. Don’t tell anyone.
Since I was a wee child I have had a mad crush on Paul Newman.

When his salad dressing came out I purchased it not for the flavor – for the picture. It is embarrassing a little. It is just that moment in Sundance Kid that just never left my heart.

I saw a quote today – like it.

“If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”
-Paul Newman

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