104 posts categorized "Extraordinary People"

February 16, 2013

Inspired by Ronda Rousey and Leo Frincu

I am inspired by this athlete and her trainer: Ronda Rousey and Leo Frincu

Ronda Rousey and Leo Frincu

I am inspired by how they train.

February 15, 2013

Paddle Boarding with Lisa Guerin

When I visited with Lisa Guerin today and saw one of her recent art pieces, I was reminded how much I love her art. It's like I've loved it for a thousand years. So tender. So beautiful. So perfect.

Lisa Guerin

Just like Lisa herself. My longtime friend who I adore and have worked with, cried with, laughed with, and grown with.

Jenny Doh and Lisa Guerin

Today, Lisa took me out to give me my first paddle boarding lesson. She was an awesome teacher ... tender, patient, and supportive ... and so inspiring with her ability to balance amazing poses on the board with her core strength.
Lisa GuerinIt was one of the most challenging activities I've done in a long time. In fact, there was a point when the wind and speed of the board took me out much farther than I had intended and I got a little scared. Then I felt the adrenaline kick in, as well as some basic insticts and core strength of my own, along with Lisa's gentle presence at the shore that brought me back. Safe and sound.

Jenny Doh
Lisa Guerin
When I reached the shore, it felt like I had conquered a new world. So much fun.

Jenny DohLife's curve balls are what Lisa's been catching like a champ for a while and I'm so thrilled to see her landing in a good place. Safe and sound. Lots more paddle boarding will be had with Lisa as weather permits ... I can't wait. And she will be working on a class to offer in Studio CRESCENDOh. Will it be shrink art? Paper dolls? Assemblages? Paper art? Whatever it is, it will be lovely, tender, and beautiful. Just like her.

Jenny Doh and Lisa Guerin

November 09, 2012

Breathing Santa Ana

When I started dating Gerardo Mouet (The Mister) more than 20 years ago, I became intrigued with his many facets. Right away, one of the most intriguing things I learned about him was his love for the city of Santa Ana. "I love Santa Ana," he said. And it is this love that caused us to plant our roots in this city. The city where we live and raise our children. The city where we run 4, 5, or 6 miles in the mornings. The city where I shoot my arrows. The city where we walk our dogs. The city where our children receive excellent public education. The city where Gerardo bicycles to and from work every day. The city where we partner with volunteers to plant trees, remove graffiti, and support the arts.

breathing santa anaOne of the commenters in this recent article states that Gerardo breathes Santa Ana. It's true.

Gerardo MouetAnd it's because of his sincerity and authenticity and passion for Santa Ana that causes me and our two children to also embrace his journey as we join him in breathing in all of the challenges, and breathing out all of the hope and potential that this beautiful city and its people possess.

Gerardo Jenny Monica Andrew

October 17, 2012

Inspired by Regina Spektor

I'm so inspired by Regina Spektor.
You may remember my post about her and my deep connection to her song, How, in this post.

Regina Spektor
She just released a new video of the song, which I'm in love with. I love it because she doesn't rely on flashy shortcuts to wow an audience. She uses true artistry and depth, and ideas that are thoughtfully planned out and thoroughly executed to illustrate the brilliance that is already built into the song and lyrics.


July 26, 2012

Sheryl Crow ... 50 and Smokin' Hot

Did you know that Sheryl Crow is 50 years old? I don't know why I didn't realize that ... after all, Gerardo and I have been HUGE fans of Sheryl since way back when. It was about 25 years ago when we went to our first Sheryl Crow concert together at The Whiskey. She was just starting to explode onto the scene and her parents were in the audience cheering her on. So sweet.

Jenny Doh and Sheryl Crow and Gerardo MouetLast night, Gerardo and I had a complete and total blast watching Sheryl in concert again. And what a thrill it was to be able to meet and visit with her before the show. She was so nice. A class act all the way.

So why do I bring up Sheryl's age? Well ... because for the longest time I just assumed that she was younger than me. The way she looks, her vitality, the way she dresses, her whole package ... this shot below isn't the best one because it's a bit blurry but the way she sings, the way she tells her stories ... she is mesmerizing.

sheryl crowShe's been through a lot too. Breast cancer. Relationship challenges. Single motherhood. And now some additional health challenges which I believe she'll power through. The way she talks about all of these things ... it's so easy ... so real ... she doesn't hide or mask her stories. They are there.

sheryl crow
I'll be daring and end by posting this final photo below ...
Sheryl Crow.
50 years old and smokin' hot.

sheryl crowI posted this photo earlier today on my Instagram and it caused a bit of a stir ... causing some digs about Sheryl. Mainly about how it's easy to be this fit if you've never birthed a child and if you have money to invest in personal training.

Blah, blah, blah.

Similar digs are said about Jennifer Hudson. I've heard it. "Oh if I had money and an endorsement contract, I'd lose weight too." Um ... on the count of three, let's think of celebrities who have been given endorsement deals by Jenny Craig and such and have not come close to what Jennifer Hudson has done. Ready? One, two, three.

Ok ... more ...

On the count of three, think of a woman who hasn't given birth, and who has money but still hasn't gotten fit. Ready? One, two, three.

Now, on the count of three, think of a woman with a moderate income who has given birth but who has gotten fit. Ready? One, two, three.

The thing is, there are always examples that prove the digs right, and also examples that prove the digs downright wrong.

I remember after I had my babies in my social worker days, I spent something like 200 bucks to buy a Nordic Trak machine and worked my tail off on that machine for weeks on end to lose the pregnancy weight. It was a lot of money to spend back then for me. And I remember a colleague who said to me "Well, if I had access to a machine like that, I'd be able to lose weight too."

The gall.

It made me so mad. Because it's not that I had access to a machine that she could never have access to. She could have sacrificed things she was spending money on to buy a Nordic Trak or a treadmill or a gym membership or a flippin' jump rope for Pete's sake. It was really her discounting the discipline, hard work, the grit that it took for me to coordinate putting my newborn in an automated swing, settting my toddler up with a Barney video, while I got my soft, pudgy body onto the thing that I decided to invest in for 30 minutes every day, to lose my pregnancy weight. It was so hard.

One of the first things I have people do in my Crafting Fitness class is to identify who their fitness role model is. And people come up with all sorts of people. It's one of my favorite parts of the class because fitness role models come in differnet sizes, shapes, ages, professions, and walks of life. Role models give us hope. They inspire us. They motivate us. I've had several over the years. Some celebrities, some friends, some strangers who don't realize I am in awe of them at the gym. And the thing is, who motivates me is different from who motivates you ... as it should be.

I guess this is a long way of sayinng that in this season of my life, Sheryl has become my new fitness role model. She gives me hope that I can not only succeed in successfully fighting for fitness in my 40s, but well into my 50s and beyond. And regardless of what kinds of comforts or advantages we may assume she has, I also know she has discomforts and disadvantages that only she knows about.

But I know this. She's 50 and looks better than many 20-somethings and 30-somethings. And if she can do it, I know others can do it too.

So ... what about you? Who's your fitness role model? Who gives you hope, inspires you, motivates you, and challenges you to aim for optimum fitness in your season of life?

June 14, 2012

Lessons from Trainer

Meet Trainer. AKA., Daniel Gustin.
As I've been sharing with you in previous posts, I've been working very hard for a good 6-7 months to regain my fitness level. It's something that had been slipping away from me as I found myself so intensely focused on my work ... and feeling tethered to my computer for days on end.

Daniel GustinHere are just a few of the many fitness-related things I've learned from Trainer.

  1. You might think you can't do something but actually, you'd be surprised to find that you can, if you learn how, and practice. Like 6 months ago, I thought I could never do boy push-ups, never jump rope for more than 1-minute sets, never to Tabata sets on a treadmill, never kick-box. Today, I can do 10 decent boy push-ups, jump for three 3-minute sets, do killer Tabata sets on a treadmill, and I would say I'm becoming a decent kick-boxer. Funny though ... new challenges that Trainer introduces still make me doubt myself. Like right now, I'm learning to jump high onto these tall objects. They scare me. But I'm learning.  
  2. To lose weight, you should eat right after exercising and in general, practice moderation but never starve yourself. Slow and gradual loss is longer-lasting and better for you than fast and dramatic loss. It's true. I've been living this truth and seeing the results for the past several months.
  3. It's important to stretch. So true. It feels like something that doesn't matter and something you can just brush off but I do them regularly now because I never want to endanger my workout routines to potential injuries.
  4. It's important to breathe. Honestly, I've never really thought about the concept of proper breathing but I am realizing how much it is related to exercise. I'm a bad breather. But I'm learning to become better.

Daniel GustinAs you can tell from the photo above, Trainer has no clue how to crochet. :)

But he can do other things pretty well ... like kick. (And he knows a lot about algea-based biofuels.)

Daniel Gustin
As intimidating as this kick looks, what's great about Trainer and really all great trainers in my opinion, is that they use their expertise and experience not to intimidate and show off, but to educate, empower, and motivate.

Finally ... the most important thing I've learned is that at the end of the day, no matter how great any trainer or any gym may be, it boils down to me and my commitment and my discipline. The discipline to wake up and drag myself into the gym to work my ass off every single day, even when I don't feel like it.

When I am fit, I feel fit not only physically, but emotionally, socially, intellectually. It's not a temporary thing to do and check off my list. It's a new way of living.

PS: Many thanks to Mr. Jill's ... the gym where Trainer and other great trainers train in a safe, supportive, inviting environment.

May 23, 2012

Monica Mouet :: 2012 Outstanding Sophomore Writer

A few days ago, I had been notified by the Creative Writing Conservatory at OCHSA (Orange County High School of the Arts) that Monica was going to receive an award at an awards ceremony that we needed to attend ... but that we needed to keep the award a secret from Monica. So as non-chalantly as possible, I rounded up The Mister and Monica and we went. (Andrew decided to stay home.)

Gerardo Mouet and Monica Mouet and Jenny Doh
Of all the awards, there is one for Outstanding Freshman writer, Outstanding Sophomore writer, Outstanding Junior writer, and Outstanding Senior writer ... the ones given out toward the end of the ceremony.

I had no idea which award she would be getting. But as the night progressed and she hadn't been called up for any of the other ones, it dawned on me that perhaps she might be named Outstanding Sophomore writer. And you know what? That's exactly what happened. Monica Mouet is OCHSA's 2012 Outstanding Sophomore Writer.

I'm not sure if anyone really understands how proud I am.

From the moment Monica came into this world, I knew she had a unique point of view and that she had the potential to express this point of view through the written word. Her words. They have already accomplished so much. And I know that whether she decides to use her skills to write arguments that affect public policy, or to develop clever characters in screenplays, or to create the next great American novel, or to move mountains, she'll do it.

My Monica.
My daughter.
Her words.

I can hardly wait to read the words she will continue to craft in the months and years ahead ... words that will entertain, challenge, persuade, and delight.

My daughter.
My heart.

May 08, 2012

Mind Readers

To make a book, it takes more than one person. It takes the effort of many. And if you're lucky, the many doesn't have to be too many ... just a few who have immense talent and commitment. I wanted to introduce two of those people on the CRESCENDOh team who make my work seamless.

Raquel Joya is our principal graphic designer. Our Creative Director extraordinaire. We've worked together for many years and I hardly have to say much in order to get an idea communicated. She listens but most importantly, she understands ... and she brings to life visions for how to make a book look great. I actually think she can read my mind ... as I utter a word or two and she says "got it."

Raquel Joya
Our principal writer and editor is Amanda Crabtree Weston. Meticulous, smart, and oh yeah, a mind reader as well. We've also worked together for many years and she's there to catch all of my fragmented sentences, thoughts, and ideas and work her magic to make it all flow ... always with a smile and commitment to quality.

These are just two of the many on the team who bring to life books like Hand in Hand ... a book that I am so proud of, and reflects the commitment that our entire team has to producing high quality content that is exquisite from cover to cover.

More to come. :)

October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs is Dead

Steve Jobs is dead.

Photo And one day, I will be dead. Everybody will. That was the point Steve made during the commencement speech he gave at Stanford University in 2005—a talk that has been viewed so many times within the last 24 hours as we all consider the depths of the profound mark he made in this world during his life, and the sobering reality that he is no longer alive.

No matter the comfort we each gain from our respective faiths in the face of death, it's scary and sad.

During that commencement speech, he said to the graduating class that though they represent the new at that very moment, they will eventually and inevitably be considered the old. And the old will eventually become replaced by the next new. In other words, there is always a beginning, middle, and an end with all things. Jobs, relationships, projects, trips, careers, events, civilizations. This truth, when fully realized, fills me with courage and humility.

Courage to do what I want to do. I only have one shot at my beginning-middle-end and I don't want to waste it doing something that I'm not interested in, or being with people I'm not interested in.

Humility to approach what I do by knowing that I will eventually be replaced by the next new. It's just the way it is. It's giving it my all, and then knowing how and when to exit and move on with grace and to my next, allowing for the natural cycle of things to play out.

I think it's when we try to hold on too long, as we try to make the finite the infinite, trying to stay the new when you are new no more, that humility gets lost, and the luster of our contributions starts to lack.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Steve Jobs and I join the entire world in mourning and remembering the tremendous contributions that he made during his incredible beginning, middle, and end.

July 02, 2011

On a Street Called Hasti Acres

This morning, Andrew and I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Chris Wulfekuehler. Who is Chris Wulfekuehler? Let's see ... where do I start?

Jenny Chris Andrew
Let's go back to 1974. It's the year my family came to the United States. Here's a photo of Chris with me and my two older brothers.

And here's Chris (below) with his older siblings, Deb and Dave, and their parents, Ed and Marilyn. The Wulfekuehler family is the family that sponsored the Doh family in our journey as immigrants to the United States.

This family opened up their home to us, allowed us to live with them for months as we found our footing. So many memories I have. One memory was that I had major dental problems when I arrived, causing me to undergo intense oral surgery to repair my teeth. I remember Ed transporting me and my mom to and from the dental surgeon, carring me in and out of his station wagon, as I recovered from surgery. I remember Marilyn helping me get better. To the least of these it is love they gave.

We arrived in August and in September, my brothers and I were enrolled in the local elementary school: Amy B. Seibert school. There was a girl in my class. Her name was Andrea. She used to bully me and slap me. No teacher intervened. I complained about it to my parents and the next day, Marilyn came with me to school. Once we got there, she asked me, "Where's Andrea?" I pointed her out and Marilyn went up to her. I don't know what she said. I think I was in earshot but I still didn't know how to speak English. But whatever Marilyn said ... well ... Andrea never slapped me again.

This is the house that we were part of during our first months as an immigrant family. On a street called Hasti Acres. The house that to me will always represent the gateway to America. Where I learned about Fourth of July block parties, about the traditions of Halloween, about an audacious family who through what may seem like a small act of sponsoring and welcoming an immigrant family into their lives, provided profound leadership to a community about the meaning of tolerance, acceptance, friendship, and love.


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