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So I am a co-founder of a Silicon Valley startup

Mayma Raphael and Eric Xu Konstella co-founders
Mayma Raphael and Eric Xu Konstella

 

 

I am now co-founder of a Silicon Valley startup.

 

Since moving to Palo Alto, I have been approached by a few companies to work as a consultant and advisor, and another mom and ex-googler approached me to join her as a co-founder of a Pinterest-like app for secondhand items. These other experiences were wonderful, but nothing ever clicked as this great opportunity.

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Mother’s Day Brunch and Dinner in the Palo Alto Area

 

SPRING

 

Mother’s Day is that special time of the year when we all want to show our love and heartfelt appreciation to those special persons in our lives who dedicate their whole time and efforts to genuinely and unconditionally loving and guiding us. And what better way to show them we truly care than with a special brunch or dinner? This year, in an attempt to help you offer the special mom in your life a moment of pure relaxation and culinary excitement, we have worked on a list of ten exquisite restaurants and hotels in the Bay Area that offer special Mother’s Day menus.

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Our first encounter with Palo Alto Police Department

agent green palo alto police
Agent DuJuan Green

 

A few weeks ago some Palo Alto schools enforced code blue lockdown, due to a manhunt for a suspect. The students had received training or drills on code blue and code red, and staff and students knew exactly what to do in either circumstance. For code blue, all doors in and out of the classrooms and school are locked, and teaching continues in the classrooms.  Students are encouraged to continue with what they are doing until it was safe for them to go outside. Code red is a bit more serious, and children are directed to hide in their classrooms, curtains and blinds closed, lights out, all doors are locked and listen to instructions on when it is safe or free from active danger.

 

During the recent code blue lockdown, it seems that everyone at my children’s school were very composed and kept calm, except maybe for one little girl who was crying quietly at her desk, hearing police sirens and helicopters and she thought that whoever was near may soon come to her classroom.  That little girl was my dear 8 year old daughter. She would later tell me how scared she felt and she thought that she was in danger.  My heart sank to my feet. The principal had sent an email on the incident so we knew some of the details. I still felt helpless as I tried to reassure her that whoever the officers were looking for, was now in police custody and that she had nothing to fear.

 

The next day she refused to go to school and nothing I said would convince her to go. I attempted to put her at ease by saying that this was an isolated incident and that everything would be fine when she goes back to school and that her teacher who was away would be back. She still insisted that she was not going.  So after trying to negotiate to no avail, I told her that I had alerted her teacher that she would not be coming in for the day, and I would try to take her out and get her mind off the incident.

 

I was thinking on a whim and trying to figure out what to do to get her back to school soon, before too much time went by, and she would develop a fear of school. My plan for the day was also to reach out to the Palo Alto Police Department and see if they would allow her come by and speak to one of the officers, who can let her know that the suspect was caught, he is not a threat to our community and that if there was something more serious at school they would have implemented a code red.

 

So I called the Police Department and a lovely lady answered the phone. I told her about my unusual request to come by and she tried to transfer my call, but the officer that she was putting me through to was not at his/her desk, so she indicated that she will have someone contact me.  Within 5 minutes, an officer identified himself as Agent Green; that he is a School Resource Officer; and works with the schools during code drills and other community outreach programs, and he was here to listen to my request and see how he could help.

 

I went through the story with him, he listened.  He had the most comforting voice. He also gave me a briefing on code blue procedures, mentioned that they could be used for any eminent danger that needed to be contained, including gas leaks, a bob cat on the run, a very serious accident near school, etc.

 

It felt remarkably outstanding that this officer was taking his time to explain how I should handle the situation: how I should talk to my daughter, what I should say to her. It was a trying moment for me, as I wanted to be sensitive to the way she felt, at the same time I did not want her to dislike her home away from home.  Agent Green also gave me his direct mobile contact and said that I can contact him if I needed more help with the situation, or if there is anything he can do to help, please reach out.

 

I put on my brave mommy face, met my daughter in the playroom and did just as Agent Green indicated.  She was very attentive, and her attitude changed immediately. After a brief moment, she said that she would go to school under one circumstance.  So when she requested that Agent Green meet her at school, I did not know how the request would have been received, but Agent Green happily obliged, and we drove into the school together just before lunch. He met with her for a brief moment, she smiled because she recognized him from her drills.  He gave her a badge for being a very brave girl, a few stickers and reassured her that everything will be ok. He would later contact me to find out how her day went and was pleased to hear that she was happy to be back at school again.

 

I was just blown away by how compassionate and considerate Agent Green was, and how he helped me with a very challenging situation, taking time away from his busy schedule.  With all the recent negativity that surrounds police departments within the US, it was so amazing to attest that our experience with Palo Alto Police Department and Agent Green in particular has been exceptional.   It is obvious that Agent Green’s training and personality and the culture that surrounds our Police Department allowed him to use his judgement and make a great effort to show empathy, compassion and a great sense of community.  Thank you Agent Green, for taking the time to help make a difference in our lives.

Summer camps hosted at Palo Alto public schools

PALO ALTO

Summer camps hosted at Palo Alto public schools

 

It always seems to be a challenge choosing the right summer camp for our children. With so many options, it is even more challenging knowing where to start.  This year we tried to identify some of the camps that are going to be hosted at Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) locations to make the decision a bit easier.  Some people are set on their favorites camps no matter where they are located, but for those of you having a hard time deciding,  hopefully the benefits can help you make up your mind.

There are several benefits in choosing a camp at your child’s school: your child may know someone who is also attending the camp (a best friend or classmate) or it may be closer to home, (a neighborhood school). In addition, familiarity with the location takes out the stress of camp anxiety in your child. Some camps may even offer discounts to local families or they may offer the possibility to negotiate a group discount.

We researched the camps, and here is a list of camps located in PAUSD schools:

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Tava Kitchen in Palo Alto unveils its new look and a fresh new menu

Tava Kitchen Palo Alto
Photo credit Brenda Austin

 

 

Tava Kitchen in Palo Alto unveils its new look and a fresh new menu

Wednesday evening, I was very delighted to experience the unveiling of the new Tava Kitchen. Tava Kitchen is part the fine restaurants and eateries located at Town and Country Village. What makes Tava Kitchen unique is its visually pleasing and equally great tasting, bespoke food, for a very reasonable price.

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Please don’t call my preschooler a Stanford guinea pig: Here is why we love Bing Nursery School

 

bing nursery school 9a

 

So, last Fall we were at a family dinner party, and my husband and I were conversing with this other couple we had previously met but had not gotten the chance to chat with. When the topic of where our kids went to school came up, we told them where our older children went, and when we mentioned that our little guy is at Bing, the husband all of a sudden started making one comment after another as he tried to paint a very negative picture of Bing. He told us that our son is just a guinea pig, that he is being used as a lab rat by Stanford, that all they really do is get dirty playing in mud.  Then adding that he is happy that his daughter’s name never got off the Bing wait list. We felt that the gentleman totally disqualified our Bing experience, making it hard for us to have a dialogue on the topic, and try to explain why we think that Bing is a fantastic nursery school.

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Unique birthday party places for kids in Palo Alto

unique birthday party palo alto

 

Year after year, it is always nerve racking for me to come up with unique kids birthday party ideas. I have done tea party, lady bug party, spa, park, golf, just to name a few. So I understand how challenging this can be for many busy parents. Would you like to plan a unique Birthday Party for your daughter or son but you find it difficult to decide what to do or what is available? Here are some unique birthday party places for kids, in Palo Alto, where you can host a stress-free, memorable birthday party that your kid and his or her guests will surely remember for a long time to come.

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A blog about a family of five in Palo Alto

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