Drunk Elephant

(I just bought Drunk Elephant Sunshine Serum from Sephora!)  (What a wonderful golden glow!)

Nontoxic Skincare Startup Drunk Elephant Minted A $25 Million (And Growing) Fortune For Its Founder

A mother of four from Houston, Tiffany Masterson needed to make extra money during the recession. So she started selling a luxury bar of soap from Malaysia in 2009 to sell in the U.S. She soon realized the bar wasn’t good for skin. That led her onto a journey to find better ingredients than used in common beauty products. “Most of the time we have sensitized skin, not sensitive skin,” says Masterson, 48. “We’re not smarter than skin. No one says you have a sensitive liver. You either drink too much or you don’t.”

Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Drunk Elephant, Tiffany Masterson.

With research and help from a chemist, she began developing a small line of nontoxic skincare in 2012, called Drunk Elephant. (She named it that after one of her first products, a hydrating marula oil. When elephants in Africa eat the fruit from marula trees, they get drunk). Unlike some small startups, she had a leg up that first year in the form of a $300,000 investment from her brother-in-law. It two years of testing formulas before the line launched. Her brother also invested an undisclosed amount a year later and became president.

Today, the company sells 12 serums and creams, all formulated without 25 ingredients deemed hazardous, from parabens and synthetic fragrances to BPA and formaldehyde. It is one of the fastest-growing brands at Sephora.

A mother of four from Houston, Tiffany Masterson needed to make extra money during the recession. So she started selling a luxury bar of soap from Malaysia in 2009 to sell in the U.S. She soon realized the bar wasn’t good for skin. That led her onto a journey to find better ingredients than used in common beauty products. “Most of the time we have sensitized skin, not sensitive skin,” says Masterson, 48. “We’re not smarter than skin. No one says you have a sensitive liver. You either drink too much or you don’t.”

With research and help from a chemist, she began developing a small line of nontoxic skincare in 2012, called Drunk Elephant. (She named it that after one of her first products, a hydrating marula oil. When elephants in Africa eat the fruit from marula trees, they get drunk). Unlike some small startups, she had a leg up that first year in the form of a $300,000 investment from her brother-in-law. It two years of testing formulas before the line launched. Her brother also invested an undisclosed amount a year later and became president.

Today, the company sells 12 serums and creams, all formulated without 25 ingredients deemed hazardous, from parabens and synthetic fragrances to BPA and formaldehyde. It is one of the fastest-growing brands at Sephora.

Masterson, who is the chief creative officer, is keeping the line small. She only wants to develop products that would fit into her own daily routine. She says the company also doesn’t pay social media influencers to review the products or spend money on any other kind of advertising. “I don’t look at other brands. I don’t go into Sephora anymore,” Masterson says. “I don’t follow trends. I stay close to home and stay in my lane. I do what I need. I’m a consumer first.” In May, the company also launched its first tinted sunscreen. Next month it will roll out its first gel cleanser online and in Sephora stores.

She’s brought on some other minority investors including high-profile fashion blogger Leandra Medine and San-Francisco-based private equity firm VMG Partners in February 2017. Forbes estimates Masterson’s personal stake in the startup is worth about $25 million.

The paired-down line has taken off in the past year with the launch of its first face mask. The exfoliating “babyfacial” has 25% AHA and 2% BHA to refresh skin tone and texture and reportedly became the best-selling skincare product on Sephora’s website last year. Sales grew 600% to an estimated $30 million last year. Internal projections predict revenue could more than double again by the end of this year.

Masterson is clear about her endgame: Her hope one day is to sell the company to a major beauty company – a growing trend in the industry as major consolidation takes place. Estee Lauder has reportedly said it’s interested, according to Women’s Wear Daily. But for now, Masterson will press on. “The company is a teenager and I am not ready to send it to college,” she says. “I feel very strongly I need to keep doing what’s best for the company.”

Chloe Sorvino , FORBES STAFF

 

SEO Final Report

I tried learning SEO and I lost! It’s really pretty complicated and a lot to learn but I decided that is was mainly a statistical algorithm that Google uses to rate websites and I was never going to be the first website to turn up after a search for “handcrafted jewelry”. Several hundred other sites would rank higher in the Google search algorithm and if you aren’t among the top three. Even then, I found out that the first three results to show up (particularly on a mobile device), will be paid Google Ads. So now I’ve ordered “Adwords Worksheet” to try that tactic.

Meanwhile, back to what I’ve learned about SEO — summarized.

(This entry was originally posted to Blog and tagged Search Engine Optimizations, SEO on May 3, 2018 {https://www.jm-seo.org/2018/05/the worlds-shortest-guide-to-an-seo-audit-and-getting-the-party-started/] by Jason McDonald)

On Page SEO: Optimize the Content of Your Website

STEP ONE: Keywords

STEP TWO: Define your website architecture

  • Landing Pages
  • Keyword Footer or Visible site navigation
  • Home page
  • Blog

STEP THREE: Optimize the website tags and content

  • Keywords to key HTML tags
  • Content
  • Link sculpting

STEP FOUR: Content of the HOME PAGE

  • TITLE tag
  • Google Analytics
  • Other Metrics

NEVER STOP LEARNING

SEO is an endeavor that changes constantly, that evolves. So bookmark and pay attention to the main blogs. Attend a few conferences, if possible. Buy books on Amazon. Stay up to date with the industry, so you’re aware of new opportunities (e.g., the ANSWER BOX) or new threats (e.g., PANDA, MOBILE-FIRST, PENGUIN.)

Please check out our other website for Susan Gibson-Grafe BOLD and beautiful jewelry creations: https://gibsongrafe.com

Plus https://www.jm-seo.org/ for excellent SEO references.

Learning what SEO is all about (Part 1)

I’ve been pretty disappointed in the sales that I’ve made (a total of 3) since our website (https://GibsonGrafe.com) went online more than a year ago. Then I was told we should try Seach Engine Optimization (SEO). That was two weeks ago. So I signed up with GoDaddy Web Services for help in setting up SEO. Also got on Amazon and ordered six books on SEO. What I’m coming to realize that the strategy to come out in the top 1-3 in a Google search doesn’t have anything to do with what you’re trying to sell. It’s more like a statistical algorithm based on key factors defined by Google.

So whatever it takes, I’m giving it a shot. One of the factors is the time it takes your site to load. Ran a speed test (https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights) and found out it just took too long to load the site. One of the recommendations was to convert JPG images (which are very large) to PNG images. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few days. There were 350 JPG images on the website to convert. I used the “save to website” option on Photoshop Elements 2018. A good friend emailed me this morning to tell me there was a batch program to convert JPG files to PNG files. Too late. But doing it page by page it gave me a chance to catch my all-too-frequent spelling errors in the descriptions. Then I saw a Search Engine tab on the bottom of the page. So I had to start all over again adding the description and a title to the search engine tabs.

The title is supposed to contain keywords for the Google search. This has mushroomed into a whole new area. What keywords to use? I can think of lots of words to describe my creations (BOLD, beautiful, handmade, turquoise, EarUno) but then there’s the twist to think of keywords to describe the audience searching for your webpage. Sophisticated, career, BOLD? This is compounded by trying to figure out what these mystery people will type in Google. What will they be searching for to find our website?

One book has turned out to be really useful: SEO Fitness Workbook 2018  by Jason McDonald, (https://www.jm-seo.org)

This is definitely a work in progress, so stay tuned for more wild and wooly SEO adventures!

And don’t forget to check out https://gibsongrafe.com

for affordable and chic designer jewelry!

And post a comment please — I’m out here all alone with John and Walter and now Tiny.

#15 (New Arrival)

On August 30, 1971, our son, Cecil Rhodes Gibson III, was born. With both parents being Chemical Engineers,  we called him C3 (as opposed to propane)!

I know one gets a bit of a warning of impending events when you’re pregnant for nine months, but I had never been around a baby ever. I was completely overwhelmed. I know there’s some sort of theory that a woman has inborn maternal instincts but I evidently had missed out on them somewhere along the line. Good friends that had lived across the quad from us at Fort Bliss, drove down from Washington State to visit in a wildly painted VW bus, which they would not let them park at the KOA just north of El Paso. I guess suspected hippies were still considered too “out there”. But they did get to our house and stayed for about a week — thankfully.

Then Cecil and I were on our own. Fortunately, I was breastfeeding so that was sort of an automatic response and I got a lot of books read for the duration. Thank goodness for Mary Lou Cameron, whose husband Don worked at ENPG with Cecil. I could never have gotten through the first few months without her. I would show up with C3 in the morning, she would open the door and welcome us in and the world seemed good.

All seemed well and C3 and I had managed to develop a sort of pattern, when Cecil came home and announced that we would all be moving to Frankfurt, Germany next week. Cecil would be working with Lummus in Frankfurt on a coal gasification project. This was during the time that everyone was concerned about running out of natural gas.

The flight to Frankfurt was a bit stressful since C3 cried and screamed the entire time. Lummus had gotten us a small apartment with a playpen for C3’s bed. Which worked beautifully the entire time we were there.

While we were there, I learned a new way to iron Cecil’s shirts. No way to fit an ironing board into the apartment with all of us. BUT, if I washed the shirts in the bathtub and rinsed them and plastered them to the tile bathroom wall when they were still wet, they would stick to the wall and dry out perfectly ironed. It might have appeared a little strange to find shirts stuck to the wall in the bathroom, but it worked.

In a wonderful twist of fate, I met a friend for life over in Frankfurt. Her name is Ina Sinclair and her husband, Alan, worked for Lummus. She was German and he was English. Ina spoke perfect English and had even worked as a simultaneous translator between German and English. They had an apartment not far from where we were staying and Ina lent me a wonderful truly sturdy stroller that I used to go all over Frankfurt with C3 in encased. I didn’t have much success in learning Germain, but could just point as ask for “zei hundred grummes” (200 grams) of whatever. I never really found out what I had ordered until I got home and opened the package.

Ina was a wonderful friend. She took me to the Ballet and the Opera and opened a whole new world to me. Alan was impressive in his own right. Quite a large and voluminous man, he would come stomping out into the kitchen in his dress shirt and his underwear shorts to clarify some plan about dinner. He would always reassure me that he planned to put some pants on before we left.

Then, too soon, we had to return home. It had been such a wonderful experience.  On the way back to El Paso, we stopped in New Jersey to see my mother and see how she was doing on her own. She had moved to a larger apartment, upstairs in the same building, and had had a marvelous time re-decorating. Including displays of “objects d’art” on the floor all over the apartment. Well, what a discovery for a one-year-old who had been cooped up on an airplane for the last eight hours. I couldn’t get him up off the floor quickly enough before mother became almost apoplectic. Understandably, we didn’t stay to visit for that long. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that found dealing with a small child to be such a learning experience.

Stay tuned for more Continuing Saga . . .

Be sure to check out our other website for big and bold and beautiful jewelry: https://gibsongrafe.com

#16 (According to Rhodes)

This is from an autobiographical assignment written by my son, Rhodes, when he was in graduate school at Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon. It breaks my heart to realize what pain I caused for him by having to move so many times. I look back and try to come up with things I could have done differently, but I’m afraid I was so conditioned to work hard and be good and do what I was supposed to do, that sometimes Rhodes was the unwitting victim.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 Well to begin with, it all started August 30, 1971 at God knows what time in the morning. Cecil Rhodes Gibson III was born. I’m sure it was a happy occasion, although I myself do not remember a thing. My parents were and still are both chemical engineers by training. My father, a traditional southern boy who was raised on a farm, was I’m sure overjoyed by the fact that he not only had a son but someone to pass on the “hokey” family name. My mother, opposite in pretty much aspect from my father, had been raised in a middle class family in Chicago and then Virginia. At that time, my father was finishing up his Army career and my mother was attempting to accommodate to my father’s view of what a good wife and now mother should do. We had been living on the base at the time and both my parents had been saving to finally be able to buy a family home.

Within a year, my parents purchased a large home and it is this home that many happy memories would revolve around. It was a huge house when viewed through the eyes of a youngster, plenty of space for my own playroom, my own bedroom, and countless adventures that were aided by my own active imagination. My neighborhood was not one conducive to the antics of a typical child. There were no other children, only adults of various ages and occupations. I learned from a very young age that I was expected to be a nice, polite and very courteous little boy – and this is exactly what I was, with the few exceptions of some very wild temper tantrums. Adults were what I was surrounded by and it was these people that I began to associate with and eventually attempt to emulate. I was a five-year-old boy who wanted to act like a middle-aged family man. But despite what may seem to be a somewhat dismal existence for a child, I loved it! It was a great childhood with almost anything you could ask for: all the fun toys, interesting people everywhere to go and talk to, a huge house that my own domain, and two parents who loved me and were very proud of their little boy. The only thing I wanted was a sibling, but it became apparent early on that there were not going to be any siblings – or at least not the old-fashioned way!

At the age of eight years old, my little world got changed around, oh just a bit. Since I was old enough to walk, I had been enrolled in the best private schools in the city and at this point, I was in third grade at St. Clement Episcopal School. Within a matter of a month, I went through a roller coaster. It started with my mother telling me that Daddy was not going to be living here anymore. Then there was a trip to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico with the lady that had been my father’s secretary and her two children, who I had often played with at company picnics. The next day my father and his secretary, Maria, were married. The next day, my new family, complete with an older brother and a younger sister, all went to the airport and went to live in Paris, France.

At the time, my parents felt it was best if I knew as little as possible about what was going on so the result was a little boy who had gotten his dream of siblings but the woman he had called “mom” was no longer around and Maria seemed to have taken her place. It was a very confusing, but also very exciting time for me. We lived in a hotel in the middle of Paris for the first few months and eventually moved into an apartment. I attended the American School of Paris, as did my brother and sister. Paris was our home for six months and then the family moved back to the United States and I went to live with my mother. It was the same house I had grown up in but now it was just my mother and me, and the house just seemed too big. We were two people living in a huge house with five bedrooms so the house was sold and my mother and I moved to a smaller house in a country club just outside town. At this same time, my father and his new family moved to Houston where I would spend my summers and a few holidays.

The next few years were again very happy years but were also years of watching pennies and living on a budget. My mother and I still lived very well and in a prestigious neighborhood, but it was definitely a struggle compared with the things when my parents were married. I did very well in school (St. Clement’s had saved a place for me) which was always to my parents’ delight, and my mother worked very hard as well as advancing up the steps in her company.

With a promotion came a move and a few days before starting high school, we moved to Midland, Texas. This was a very difficult time. I was about to enter high school with all of my friends and now here I was at a public school, no uniforms, and no friends. My mother was starting a new job and she too was going through a rough time but somehow we made it through and Midland became our new home and a very comfortable and happy home at that. But this did not happen to be permanent and with the downsizing of the company, my mother was transferred back to El Paso and I moved as well right before my senior year in high school. So here I was again facing a new school and no friends, just as I had three years earlier. But again we made it through, even though neither my mother nor I were ever really happy again living in El Paso. The only good thing about it was that my mother was doing very well and I was off to college in a year.

For college, I moved to Austin, Texas and again faced a new school and no friends (was there a reoccurring theme in my life or what?!?). College was a very liberating and exciting time in my life; I grew during my five years of college and learned not only academically but about life as well. I graduated from the University of Texas in 1994 with a degree in Psychology, minor in Zoology and on my way to medical school. But as usual, I decided to instead take some time off from school and move to San Francisco where my mother had moved three years previously. It was time to reevaluate what I wanted out of life and what I was going to do to accomplish it. Following a year as a manager for GapKids, I quit to go back to school, pick up a few courses at San Francisco State before applying to graduate school, most likely in psychology.

But who knows what the future has in store . . .

#17 (Midland, TX)

Midland Texas is a wonderful town —  they called it “Tall City” when I was there (1985-88) because of the tall buildings downtown.

I have to admit when I first got there, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was the proverbial “main office” person. After a while I got to see what the field people (who most definitely knew what they were doing) would react when someone from the main office would come in and start making changes and recommendations and then get back on the plane and fly back to the hallowed halls of the main office. A lot of times, before the wheels of the plane had lifted off the ground, everything would have been put place in place just as it was before they arrived.

So there I was, first of all a WOMAN and not only that but I was from the Main Office. Unfortunately, I was still dressing like I was in the main office on my first job site visit. Under watchful eyes, I made it across the plowed field in my high heels, but had to admit defeat at the fording the creek. After that they used to tease me about how I had looked so stylish when I arrived, and now here I was in boots and jeans and a hard hat. Hardly glamourous!

First of all, I have to say thank you to those hard-working people in the Permian Division for being so kind to me as I learned my way. A lot of learning my way meant learning to trust and rely on them because they really knew what needed to be done. Chuck Hagen, Permian Division Superintendent, was a gentleman and a friend.

With all the news nowadays about sexual harassment and the “MeToo” movement, I never experienced any embarrassment or harassment in the entire time I was in Permian Division. No foul language, no lewd comments. But then maybe I wasn’t that provocative in my boots and jeans and hard hat!

About this time, the company made the strategic decision to divest of the processing plants upstream of the main lines. The company was now strictly in the gas transportation business. Many of the men in the Division had worked and raised families in the Division and it was hard on everyone to see it come to an end. At that point, I had been promoted to Director of Engineering for the Permian Division. But it was the end of the Permian Division and it was the end of my job.

The saddest part was to watch Chuck Hagen struggle with the ravages of cancer. You knew he was coming to an end also.

I remember my last meeting with Chuck in his office in Midland before I left to go back to El Paso, when he told me to remember that “this had nothing to do with my performance.” Right then, I didn’t fully realize the impact of what he was saying.

For the past three decades, there were three operating divisions of EPNG: Southern Division, San Juan Division, and Permian Division. Three divisions, three Engineering Directors. So now there would be two operating divisions and hence two Engineering Directors. When I got back to El Paso,  I discovered that I actually didn’t have a job. I didn’t have an office, I didn’t have a desk. Like the Iraq aftermath, nobody had thought of the repercussions to the “excess” people involved.

In the meantime, Rhodes and I were looking for a new home. He was utterly despondent about being yanked out of Midland High School just before his senior year. Fortunately, he had been named the Editor of the MHS Yearbook in his junior year. We found a condo out in Tennis West and I just remember his sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, saying he hated the place.  We had had a beautiful home in Midland that had been built just for us, so this didn’t quite measure up.

Meanwhile, back at work, a good friend told me about an opening in the Market Analysis Department. I applied for the job and thank goodness, got it. The Marketing Department had a new VP and the Market Analysis group had a new Director, so it was a new experience for all of us. Unfortunately, some of the original members of the group thought one of their own should have gotten the position I got, which generated a certain amount of unnecessary tension. But the work was really interesting and opened up a whole new part of the gas company business for me.

Stay tuned for more Continuing Saga . . .

 

 

#18: Back to El Paso

Well, it ended up that my our pleasant time in Midland was only a brief interlude. The company was getting out of the gas processing business in the Permian Basin for good.  The office was closing down and many of us were heading back to El Paso. It was a particularly hard move for my son since he was just entering senior year at Midland Lee High School. He had adapted so well there. He had played in the band for a while, was editor of the yearbook, and had made many many new friends. I was hoping he would be coming back to El Paso to re-join his friends from St. Clement’s and it wouldn’t be too awful. But it was.

Meanwhile, it ended up that I was going back to El Paso with no job.  Evidently, no one had thought of where I was going to go.  No office, no desk. Just a sort of embarrassed silence. It actually took a while for it to sink in since I had always been so fortunate in getting into a job that I loved. There was some talk that I would be given a Principal Engineer position, where is where they put aging engineers that they didn’t know what to do with. At the same time, Rhodes had announced that he hated the new townhouse we had found back out in Tennis West and he wanted to go back to Midland. So did I. Years later,  realized I probably should have looked for a job in Midland, especially with the experience I had. But too many years of going to Catholic school and doing as I was told, prevailed and I didn’t even think of it. Meanwhile, a good friend told me there was an opening in Marketing. Marketing was going through a big shakeup with a new VP and a new Marketing Director both from the east coast. Fine with me, I was from the east coast — but anathema to most of the west Texas folks. The job opening was for a Manager and it was a step down from being a Director, but I jumped at it. It ended up that I had gotten the position instead of a favorite from within the Section which I didn’t fully realize at first. But it WAS a job!

In fact, it was a most interesting job. The natural gas marketing function was being deregulated so there was a lot going on. Historically, El Paso had just assumed that the Calfornia customers (PG&E and SoCalGas) would keep on taking gas from El Paso and was even expanding its lines to ship more gas. Unfortunately, El Paso had never demanded that the Califonia sign contracts to take the gas we were producing and sending out to them, and a new gas supply was coming on in Canada. This sent it all into a tailspin.

The whole gas industry was switching over from consolidated supply and demand merchant function to only a transportation function through the pi[peline system. That was an enormous change. Many of the gas producers out in the Permian Basin had long-term contracts with El Paso to take their gas. This contractual situation introduced the term “take or pay” which meant the pipelines had to take the gas or pay for it anyway.

Stay tuned for more adventures!

Meanwhile check out our other website for some bold and beautiful handmade jewelry: https://gibsongrafe.com

EECP: 2 Down

EECP: 2 days down — 33 more to go.

According to the Legacy Heart Care brochure: “We have created a relaxed, spa-like environment that maximizes your comfort and minimizes your anxiety. Treatment begins with you lying down on a padded therapy table. Cuffs, similar to blood pressure cuffs, are wrapped around your calves, thighs and lower hips. An EKG machine monitors your heart and, through a computer, regulates the inflation of the cuffs. The cuffs inflate sequentially from the calves toward the lower hips in rhythm with your heart. The cuffs squeeze during the relaxing phase of your heart (diastole) and deflate when your heart beats (systole). This “counterpulsation” results in an increased supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle and a reduction in the heart’s workload.”

I’m just hoping this treatment will work. It’s actually a bit creepy — you walk into a dimly-lit circular room with ten beds coming out from the edge of the room like spokes on a wheel. Makes me think of something like a science fiction story where all the people are replaced by aliens!

John has stayed with me through the whole treatment. The first day was a little rocky. I think they may have started me off on a stronger pulsation than they did yesterday. The first day I was having trouble getting my breath and felt pressure in my chest. They have a little “motel check-in bell” just in case. I was starting to get really anxious and scared, so I rang the bell. Several staff people showed up immediately and backed off on the pulsation strength and started giving me oxygen. Much better after that although I was really shakey when I got up off the bed to get to my walker.

The second day was much better. I think they had scaled back the intensity of the pulsations and I made it through the hour without ringing the little bell. They said I’ll start feeling better after a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Judy and Richard Hall are taking a cross-country RV+Jeep trip and will stop in to visit tomorrow night. I’m so looking forward to seeing them both again. Good memories from Midland days.

Return to https://gibsongrafe.com

#19: UT and Operations Conrol

Well, we both made it through the next year. Rhodes graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin. I was lucky enough to be involved with developing some of the new policy governing gas El Paso’s role in gas transportation. About the time that I was feeling pretty comfortable, I was transferred to Operations Control (the new name for Dispatching). It was nice to be back in the Engineering and Operations side of the business but the whole transfer felt rather awkward. The man who was responsible for the entire shuffle of people back from Operations to El Paso and appeared to have forgotten where to put me, was now a VP heading up Operations Control.  So there I was. I was put in charge of the section that developed the software used by Dispatching. The really good thing about it was that I was put back with my old group from Systems Engineering and even some from the Midland office. I was still a manager though. About a year later, the Director of Operations Control was transferred back to Midland and I was named Director. Looking back, the whole arrangement seemed rather contrived but I was glad to be back.

The man who was then the VP of Operations Control was a friend from way back. But the relationship between supervisor and employee has a way of getting completely altered. As much as I tried, I could not do anything to his satisfaction.

Stay tuned for what happened next . . .

Meanwhile check our other site for bold and beautiful handmade jewelry: https://gibsongrafe.com

20: San Francisco

I lasted for about a year. But I came to realize that I didn’t handle constant criticism that well, and realized I needed to get out. This happened twice  and as I look back, it was as much my fault as anyone’s. I was trained to perform and to expect appreciation. When I did perform and was instead reprimanded, I couldn’t handle it. I think it was part of growing up (admittedly at a late age) but I was growing up to realize that my brain and experience was as good (if not better) than the person teling me what to do. Not a good situation.

So a job opening (Director of California Marketing) in San Francisco came up and I took it. Rhodes was firmly ensconced in Austin, so I packed up all our stuff, including the little red 911 Porche, and rented a car for the trip out west. Rhodes drove with me to San Francisco along with MamaCat in a carrier and then he flew back to Austin. MamaCat was suitably sedated for the ride, but I was convinced she was so quiet that she must be dead, so Rhodes had to keep poking her to assure me all the way to California.

Once we reached San Francisco, I dropped Rhodes off at the airport, and took off for the city. I was so lucky that it ended up that the San Francisco office had a wonderful office manager named Naomi. She had found me an apartment right in the city (1234 Jones Street) that would let me keep MamaCat who had recovered from the trip and was reassuringly moving.

The apartment even had a Jacuzzi tub which was a new treat for me. I had brought some bubble bath with me to luxuriate after the trip and tossed it in the tub as it filled up. BUT I hadn’t taken into account the action of the Jacuzzi tub and the production of enormous amounts of bubbles. I was absolutely panic-stricken. I could just imagine the mountains of billowing bubbles going out the window and rolling down the hills. Fortunately, I managed to contain the bubbles in the bathroom and MamaCat and I feel deliciously asleep.

Thank goodness the apartment building had parking in the basement. Just driving a Porsche 911  in San Francisco’s hills was a challenge and the parking space was JUST big enough. The office was on the 29th floor in the Bank of America Building right downtown. Many times it was just a relief to walk back and forth to work.

San Francisco, California, United States – famous winding Lombard Street.

I only had the apartment for two weeks, so I started right away looking for a permanent place. I think I was a combination of extremely naive and utterly impractical when I found a place I just fell in love with.  It was right on Lombard Street (the crooked street) in the back at the end of a driveway and behind a fence. It was a magical cottage sitting in the midst of a forest of trees and green. Jolinda and Doug Sim owned the cottage and the four-story house in front. They were both wonderful and I signed the papers before they could change their mind. They even said okay to MamaCat even though Jolinda was allergic to cats.