Learning to surf in my 50s

Bolinas, CA, April 2021

Learning to surf was always on my bucket list. I grew up in the Santa Cruz area, with ample opportunity to try it — but I never quite fit in with the Santa Cruz vibe. I couldn’t tan, I hadn’t been blonde since 7th grade, I wasn’t effortlessly athletic. I ran more to Janeane Garofalo in Romy & Michelle. It bugged me, because it looked like something I might enjoy.

Fast forward to age 52. I used quarantine (and the lack of a two hour commute) to pick up new hobbies, including guitar. It’s…

Part 3 — excerpts from my former commute

Jan 2019: incredibly crowded train out of San Francisco. It’s one of those new ones that feels like a downgrade, like I took Muni by mistake. This large brick-shaped man boards at 19th in Oakland, and doesn’t remove his backpack. His really big backpack in which he appears to be transporting a collection of hardback books, all sharp edges. It’s jamming so tight into me, I want to ask it to at least buy me a drink first.


February 2019: I’m feeling that feeling when you get on a crowded bart…

Diary entries from rides I’ve actually come to miss

An open-air BART platform with a few passengers walking on a gray day.
An open-air BART platform with a few passengers walking on a gray day.
Photo: Cindy Lundin Mesaros

I never thought I’d feel this way, but after nearly nine Bart-free months due to the pandemic, I find myself missing my old commute into San Francisco. Among the mystery smells, strange spilled liquids, and overheard awkward conversations, there were also the occasional day-brightening exchanges with perfect and far-from-perfect strangers.

For a bit of nostalgia, I combed through my Facebook page to collect some diary-like entries from the days I was able to roam the Bay Area more freely on public transit.

February 2018

The guy next to me on this morning’s train was trying really hard to, um, dislodge a booger…

my first scary video for Fender Play. 150 likes and 50+ comments, nothing but supportive

This is a story about learning to play guitar during quarantine.

In the summer of 1988, home after freshman year of college, I signed up for a group guitar class through the local parks and rec. I was crazy about music and musicians, and thought it would be a fun thing to do. The class was a bit boring, but the instructor singled me out, and said I was a natural after a few lessons. I blossomed under his compliments. The whole class went to one of his shows at the local dive bar. He said I would be up…

It started early. I drafted a legal document for the president of a company I was interning at in the summer of 1995. I brought it into his office and asked how it looked (proudly, I admit — I’m no lawyer but this doc was solid). “It looks great,” he said, looking me up and down slowly. “But not nearly as good as the girl who typed it.” Immediately my confidence plummeted.

Early 2000s, sitting at a dinner during a telecommunications conference listening to the speakers, brash young startup types ready to change the world. I got seated next to…

A collection of random things I’ve learned from a half century of spinning around on this planet.

  1. Pictures show the words and not the poetry. Something to keep in mind when viewing unflattering photos of yourself.
  2. A true friend is the person you want to call when you discover your first grey hair, and it’s not on your head.
  3. You’re officially old when you can’t see well enough to pluck your own eyebrows.
  4. I was a really good mother until I had kids.
  5. Dogs make your house dirty and smelly, and cover your clothes with hair at all times. …

An experiment on buying the very best quality someone else’s budget can afford.

I’ve always been a bit weird about my wardrobe. I have a certain look I’m aiming for, best described as “aging rock chick turned suburban mom with professional job trying to avoid looking like she’s trying too hard”. I’m not sure if I ever quite nail it. I make my purchase decisions based on estimates of cost-per-wear: if I expect to wear the item enough times to bring the CPW down to $10 or less, I allow myself to buy it. And I think of my closet…

image: Shutterstock

The first in a series in which we poke gentle fun at job descriptions as a means of uncovering what looks a lot like bias in our industry.

Today’s job description came across a friend’s desk. It’s for a head of finance and strategy via a recruiting firm called Michael Page. After the usual blurb about the unique start-up culture and incredible perks (does anyone apply for the incredible perks these days?), it sternly and a bit condescendingly advises the following:

“My client and I cannot stress this enough: only highly motivated and talented individuals need apply. …

Marketing and HR — opposites attract? Actually, the two disciplines have a lot in common. Both are oriented around creating a brand, influencing people to take action, and managing relationships. In my experience managing both functions for growing companies, I’ve learned that marketing and HR should work closely together, if not date (assuming that’s okay with company policy). I see this happening with bigger companies in a nascent field called employment branding. For smaller companies that don’t have the luxury of dedicated employment branding, the progressive ones start their brand foundation with their employees. …

Blurbs I’ve compiled over the years.

Woman loudly and enthusiastically providing birthday gift advice by phone. “It rhymes with six! Give her that on her birthday. Six! What rhymes with six? Why aren’t you getting this … take out the “i” and put in an “e” — that’s right, that’s what you should give her for her birthday. Rhymes with six.” — February 2016

Oakland-bound train, rather crowded on this holiday. Woman answers her phone loudly. “Hello? Yeah … I’m on Bart. What? I’M ON BART. You know I don’t like talking on the phone when I’m on Bart. What’s that? I said I’M ON BART…

Cindy Lundin Mesaros

Tech marketer, storyteller, mobile pioneer. Used to be really cool, but then I had kids. Funny when stressed.

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