Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: So CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Business & You Bliss

What a wonderful weekend we just had at the remarkable "Business & YOU" seminar at the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead. First of all, the training is the best one I've ever experienced - and I've been to dozens. It's unbelievably good and basic at the same time. The new facilitators are Jim Mikula and Ruth Ann Hattori, who are wonderful in front of the room and held everyone's interest for two and a half days of exciting games, brilliant business ideas and so much more. And then there is the setting - WOW is all I can say. The conference center is next to the lake and has beautiful two-bedroom "condolets" with lofts and huge sitting areas outside where you can enjoy the brisk mountain air. We were simply blissed out by the time the workshop ended yesterday afternoon. The next one is September 18-20, again at Lake Arrowhead. For more information, go to
Don't miss the opportunity to take part in something extraordinary!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Princess Keiki

Our nickname for our granddaughter, Kendall Emilie Ingram, is "Keiki" (Kay-Kee). We came up with it because it's the Hawaiian word for "child" or "beloved child," and it is composed of her initials. Gary has nicknames for everyone he loves, and I sort of jumped on that bandwagon after he started calling me "Ducks" when we were dating. I called him "Ducks" too. His nickname for our niece, Lindsey, is "Cupcake." Her boyfriend, Nels, is "Thor" and her roommate, Shannon, is "Cleo." Our young second cousin, Shannon, who is like another niece is "Peach," and niece Hannah is "Hannah Banana." Finally, there is our grandson Keegan, aka "Moose."

Last Saturday was Keiki's first birthday and instead of a traditional Hawaiian "baby luau," her parents had a "princess party." And what a fair princess she is, as you can see from these great photos. As I sat in the living room and watched her scoot around on the wood floor with her pal, Simon, who is the same age, I thought once again about how different my life is from my mom's. My mother loved her grandchildren, but really didn't participate too much in their childhood. There were the usual holiday family gatherings, but Mom didn't babysit for Lindsey, Hannah or Ellie, except maybe once or twice.

I didn't have the blessing of children of my own, so I relish baby-sitting and hanging out with my "kids" and grandkids. The time I spend with them never fails to lift my spirits and make me count my blessings. Even when they are crabby, they teach me something good about life and what it's like from a child's perspective. I can't wait for my friends here in Southern CA to have grandchildren so we can compare notes and maybe do Grandma playdates!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hurting and Healing

Something hurt me so much last week that I virtually came apart, physically and emotionally. It was an unexpected thing, and of course it was something someone "said" - in this case via email. After venting via phone calls, sobs, more email rhetoric, and unrealistic, self-absorbed quick decisions of my own, I was left in a puddle of "itty bitty boo" pity. The truth is, nobody was really to blame for all of it but - you guessed it - ME. It was all about my misperceptions, miscommunications and - this is the hardest part - my righteousness. I knew I was right, Right, RIGHT - and I decided to die on my sword. It didn't matter that the original email came from someone with good intentions. I assumed the opposite just because I was RIGHT.

Thankfully, one of the other players in this crappy situation is one of my best friends. Once we reassured each other about our enduring friendship, it opened the door for us to look at how each of us played a role in creating the problem that led to the nuclear meltdown. The episode couldn't have come at a worse time for either of us; and now I realize that was part of the lesson. It was a good reminder that we didn't create the universe and we're not running it, either.

No need to post any more about the issue. It's resolving itself thanks to everyone involved taking responsibility, including me. Now if I can just take responsibility for eating all that Mexican food yesterday, I'll be healed.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tempting Temecula

In these times of pinching pennies, I took ten thousand of mine to Pechanga Resort at Temecula last weekend and put them into some penny and nickel slot machines. Amazingly, I came home with $1,000. At one point I was up over $2K, so I'm glad I stopped at $1K and put the money in the bank.

My friend, Karen, taught me the merits of playing penny and nickel slots instead of quarter and dollar slots. Every time she came back from the Palm Desert area casinos, she would tell me how she'd won anywhere from $500 to $5,000 and always on the "little" slots. I have absolutely NO idea what I did to win the money. The crazy machines would just start playing lots of music and the points would go up-up-up! Then I would cash out and walk over to the three-card poker table to show my big "ticket" to Gary. His response? "Bitch."

I'm singing the praises of Temecula to anyone in Southern California who wants a fun vacation close to home. It's the perfect antidote to our national consumer financial anxiety attack. We had a fabulous lunch at the South Coast Winery restaurant with our son and daughter-in-law, Cory and Emilie, and they took us wine-tasting afterwards at both South Coast and Robert Renzoni. Even Gary sipped wine with us and we bought a few bottles to take home. That night we enjoyed our 10th anniversary dinner at the Great Oaks Steak House at Pechanga with Cory, Emilie and my sister, Meg, and her husband, Ted, and daughter, Hannah. All of them (except Em) were in our wedding party 10 years ago. Then I went out to the casino and won $600 more on a nickel slot.

I love Temecula even when I don't win. The Spa at Pechanga was recently renovated and is serene and pleasant with excellent massage therapists and estheticians. Gary sent me for a massage/facial package - the perfect anniversary gift. I bought him some cigars. One has to know what's important to one's spouse!

On Saturday morning, we joined Meg, Ted and Hannah for breakfast at the Swing Inn Cafe in Old Town Temecula. It's a down-and-dirty joint with great food and lots of old-town atmosphere, set in the midst of scenic buildings and fun shops including my sister's favorite, Quilters Corner.

I didn't realize that just down the street from the Swing Inn is the Long Branch Bar where Horace Magee, a cowboy of Native American descent who worked on the Garner Ranch, shot and killed two men who had taunted him horribly during an evening of heavy drinking on Christmas Eve, 1907. The story is that Magee told one of the men he would buy him a drink if he would "Kiss my ass." The man agreed. When Magee lowered his trousers, instead of a kiss, he got a lit cigar in a place where the sun doesn't shine. Magee was so enraged that he left the bar and returned later with a gun. Magee was convicted and served a dozen years in San Quentin before my step-grandfather, Robert Garner, convinced a judge to parole Magee and let him return to spend the rest of his life at Garner Ranch. Our family knew Horace Magee as a wonderful man who even saved the life of my stepdad, Jack, when he was a boy. The tragedy was the result of a bad prank gone wrong. Magee died on the ranch in 1963while our ranch cook, Jozee Salinas, was cutting his hair. He was 85 years old.

Read more about this story here:

I hope you will visit Temecula and relish its wide variety of pleasures. Let me know about your experience, too.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Business Card Synchronicity

My brother, John, called me the other day to let me know about a wonderful experience of synchronicity he had while cold-calling in Huntington Beach. John is in sales for Yosemite Waters ( and works in business parks around Orange County. He walked into the offices of a web site and media services company. The owner happened to be there and John introduced himself. They talked about the business's water needs and John shared a flyer. The owner, whose name was Rich, asked for a business card. When John handed it to him, Rich said, "We have the same last name." Long story short, Rich and John discovered they are first cousins, shared a hug and a few laughs, agreed to get together soon, and John sold some water. John gave me Rich's phone number and we talked today. I spent a fun dinner with him and our cousin, Dru, in the 80's when I worked at Disneyland; but we lost touch soon afterwards. John had never met him. This time, we vowed not to lose touch again. A family reunion is in the near future!