Donna Crawford
Redondo Beach, California


I was born in North Carolina and lived there until I was about 2 or so.  My father was in the military, so we moved every year or two.  We lived up and down the east coast, in Arkansas, Germany and Kansas, before he retired in 1980.  I attended Manhattan High School (in Kansas) and college and law school at the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!!).

I've lived in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and California since leaving my parents' home.  I currently live in California with my husband Kirk (even while we were on our RTW, we considered California as home). My family and friends are scattered all over the place, as you can imagine.

My husband and I are highly involved with our church, locally. I have lots of hobbies, including cooking, HAM radio, reading, travelling, bzflag, and sports/outdoor activities. Although I love to watch Jayhawk Basketball, I generally prefer to participate. Some of my favorites are beach volleyball, scuba diving, cycling, rowing, swimming, snow skiing, tramping, surfing, off-roading, etc.

My travels over the last few years have taken me to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and most recently, on a 15-country, 1-year round-the-world trip.

Feel free to drop me an email to let me know how you're doing, or any other suggestions you have for these pages! And be sure to sign my new Guestbook!

Recent Articles

Monday, March 12


Grant Me...Wisdom? Strength? Anything?!

So over a month ago now, a couple of my friend from work did something pretty radical. After a year of spending time evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, talents and gifts, interests and more, they were about to be placed into optimal positions at work. But instead, they decided to strike out on their own and, 2 years earlier than planned, launch a non-profit they had been working on (Sharefest). You might remember me mentioning Sharefest in some earlier posts, in particular, those about Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Sharefest is s a nonprofit ecumenical organization dedicated to positive change through tangible acts of service. It exists to bring together churches, community-based organizations and businesses to meet needs and foster hope and unity within the South Bay as a whole. As a non-profit, it relies heavily on donations and fundraisers in order to accomplish its purposes.

When Bryan and Chad left King's Harbor, I told them to let me know if they needed any help. Well, I've now (somehow!) agreed to do their grant writing for them. Having never done any grant writing before, I'll probably be finding some sort of a seminar to attend to get up to speed. Also, I'm contacting businesses and organizations all over our area, trying to determine who provides grants (or sponsorships) and gather what information we need in order to submit a grant application. It's a bit overwhelming. On that note, if you know of any businesses (local, national or international) who provide grants for non-profits in Southern California (LA area), please let me know! Name, contact, url - anything you have is helpful.

In additiion, for those of you who might not know, I joined the staff of freenode irc network in January. I'm still coming up to speed on my duties and responsibilities there. There is also a staff blog to which I made my first contribution.

And finally, I'm slowly getting back to work. A month out of the office with illness has made it slow going. But with Bryan and Chad gone and trying to help our new administrator, Chad (there's a funny story about Chads and KHC - remind me to tell you sometime), get oriented and settled in, I feel like I really need to be in the office. Besides, it's really nice to be back at work - I really enjoy the people I work with!


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Saturday, September 16


Decade in Review - A Glimmer of the Future

In June of 1995, I was living in Dallas, Texas, working for Liberty Sports. Liberty was a small- to medium-sized media company (a subsidiary of TCI) that owned the Prime Sports Networks. When I joined them, they had 1 US-based, Spanish-language channel (my experiences was in international) plus they were in the midst of launching a Latin-American spanish language channel.

I spent three years at Turner before leaving to join Liberty. I found that at Turner, unless you had STARTED in a specific department, people in my field really had no way to advance. Now, I'm not a ladder-climber. That sort of thing just doesn't interest me. But after three years in the same department, I was bored. My boss, Randy, was also bored and had started sending me on interviews for jobs for which he was overqualified. Most of them, I was grossly underqualified for.

I had lunch with a friend of mine over at Turner Sports. Mike told me that he knew of someone that was looking. I presumed he meant at TS, but in fact, he was talking about Liberty Sports. I was interested until I found out it was in Dallas. Gah! I had spent almost four years making Atlanta my home! Why would I move now?! After a week or two of Mike calling me daily to see if I had sent my resume, I finally did - just to get him to be quiet! I was rather shocked when they called me within a day, asking to interview me.

I had lived in Dallas before. I still had friends there, some of whom I talked to on occasion. One of my friends, my closest in Dallas - Leasza, was dying of cancer. She was actually in the hospital in ICU (again). I decided to take the interview. At the very least, it would give me a chance to go visit her. I did visit her - it turned out for the last time. Less than a week after my trip, she passed away. Years later, after I had moved to California, I received a letter from a woman who had been her nurse. She told me how Leasza used to talk of me and how deeply she appreciated our friendship.

The job itself, though I was determined not to take it, sucked me right in. I would be going from a company with over 60 lawyers on its payroll, most of whom were pigeon-holed into narrow fields, to a company with three. Liberty's work was just as broad as the work at Turner - but far less in quantity. As much as I hated to admit it, this was the job I had been looking for.

I was in Dallas only 1 night. By the time I got home, Randy (my boss at Turner) informed me he had already received a call asking for a reference. He told me he lied through his teeth and so I now owed him my first-born child. Randy was always a jokester, and is certainly one of my favorite bosses during my career. Within 3 days, I had a new job. I gave as much notice as I could at Turner, 4 or 5 weeks, if I remember correctly. I had accepted a job at a 45% pay increase, plus they were moving me from Atlanta to Dallas (yay! I HATE moving). I felt wanted. Additionally, only a few days after I returned from my interview, I came to work to find my desk full of a beautiful, exotic flower arrangement. A happy birthday from my new job!

So, in 1994 I moved to Dallas. I had spent three summers there during college, but this would be the first time I lived there year-round. I found a nice little apartment in the corner of Park Cities, directly upstairs from my new boss's best friend, Kevin. It was a 16 mile commute, but always going opposite of traffic (except during Dallas Cowboy football home games). The work was interesting and fun. The people were nice (well, most of them were) and it was a fairly close-knit working environment. One of the other lawyers quit shortly after I arrived, but it worked out fine. David, Mark and I worked together and kept up with things.

Canadian stampIn June of 1995, we were looking seriously at some business with a Canadian company and Mark and I had to go to Toronto to perform due diligence before we committed to the deal. I frequently traveled to Denver (where our parent company officed) but this would be my first international trip for work.

We flew from Dallas into Toronto (I think via New York, but I no longer remember that detail). When we arrived in Toronto, it was quite late. Mark and I took a cab from the airport to our hotel. We had eaten on the plane. The next morning would start early, so I went straight to sleep.

In the morning, we ate breakfast in the hotel and checked out, taking our luggage with us to the meeting. We would be flying home that afternoon. We went straight from the hotel to a highrise just down the street, where we were quickly escorted upstairs to a conference room. This particular conference room was an interior room. There were no windows, no view of the city. It wasn't dreary, but there was certainly nothing to get excited about.

Of course, the substantial table in the conference room was stacked with piles and piles of file boxes full of paper. I was rather appalled - there was no way to get through all that paper in a single day. However, we did our best. It was easy to quickly look through a file, determine if it contained anything of relevance, and then put it back. Lunch was brought in for us. We left the room only to use the toilet.

By the end of the day, we had pages worth of notes, and a few copies of relevant documents. Mark and I took a cab back to the airport, boarded our plane and flew home.

I have heard many times that Toronto is a beautiful, fun city, full of friendly people. I am quite sure it is. However, despite having BEEN there, I cannot attest to a single thing about the city, other than the fact, that the conference rooms should have windows.

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A Decade Is Born

I figured it out a while ago - I have moved over 25 times in my life. No wonder I hate moving so much! I find the whole process horrifying and traumatic. When I was 7, we began making plans for yet another move - and yet, a unique one for the specific reason that this would be the first time we moved overseas. My father was being stationed in Germany. The moving process, while still quite common for us at the time, was different too.

It also meant that, for the first time, I would need a passport. And so, I got my first passport. During our four years in Germany, we did a fair amount of traveling. We visited all sorts of places in Germany (I managed to learn to speak Hoch Deutsch ["High German" or "University German"] along with 6-7 dialects of German..and no, I don't still speak it. Sadly, after the many years since living there, I've lost most every bit of vocabulary I ever had). We also visited Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, East Germany (yes, there was an East Germany back then) and the UK. I enjoyed Girl Scout Camp in Pisa, Girl Scout trips to Switzerland and Austria, Swimming meets in Belgium, overnight train rides to Berlin. Four years worth of travel and seeing things from the innocent eyes of a child.

It was many many years before I'd leave the country again. We returned to the USA in 1976. I had the one-off trip to Mexico with my family in 1980 (a family trip to visit my aunt & uncle in Acapulco, along with other aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents). But then, my passport expired. I had no reason to get a new one, as I had no plans to travel internationally.

Finally, in 1994, I made plans to go to Italy for vacation with a friend of mine. It was an exciting prospect, as I hadn't been to Italy in many years and it seemed like a good destination for us. The exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Italian Lira was quite favorable for us. So, I ordered my new passport.

Italian stampI was so excited when that silly little green book arrived, full of blank pages, waiting to be filled. I was excited to put that first stamp in it! Little did I realize that I'd have to add pages before I was done.

A whole week's vacation! I was working at Turner International at the time, in Atlanta. I don't think I'd had a "real" vacation since college (and those never felt like vacation). Although I had been there before, my friend hadn't, so when we planned our itinerary, we decided to include Rome. We flew in and out of Milan, headed to Venice, Rome and then to Bologna, before heading back to Milan for our flight home.

I had never been to Venice before, so I was looking forward to it. We went in March because it coincided with the local University spring break, and my friend was taking college courses. The flights were, as I recall, extremely cheap (about US$200-250 per person), although we had to fly through Kennedy in NY. Upon our arrival in Italy, we promptly hopped a train to Venice.

Venice was everything (and nothing like) I expected it to be. The canals were beautiful, the buildings old, the cathedrals majestic. The streets, particularly at night, were silent. There was no car traffic, no motor sounds. You could drop a pin in an alley and hear it land from three streets away. We found a room at a pension - sort of a cross between a hotel and a hostel. I had brought nothing of value with me, but some girls we had met on the ferry left some jewelry in their room when we went to dinner. When we came back, it was gone. Not a very good advertisement (you are forced to leave your key with the manager when you go out) for this particular place.

At once point, we saw a man painting water colors on the piazza in front of an old church. Some of the paintings were marvelous! I haggled with him for a bit and then we agreed on a price. I had my photo taken with the artist, holding the painting I purchased.

We took a trip out to Murano, Burano and Torcello, islands near Venice. Murano is famous for its glass making. Burano is famous for its beauty and lacework. And Torcello is famous for an amazing mosaic in the small cathedral there. I brought home a beautiful runner that I bought in Burano, and still, to this day, use on top of my great-grandmother's piano.

From Venice, we headed off to Rome. Now, let me just mention. If you head off to > Italy, do NOT do what we did. Don't go to Venice and then Rome. Save Venice for last. The reason? Simple. Venice is calm and peaceful and slow-paced. Rome is NONE of those things! Rome is loud and fast and crazy and polluted. It's FUN, don't get me wrong. But after Venice, it was a shock. Venice had no motorized vehicles, except boats and they were rather quiet. Rome has cars and busses and motor scooters. Oh, and the motorscooters - they thought nothing of cutting a bus off or a car. They drove like complete and total madmen! It was chaos!

In Rome, we spent 1 night at a pension that was not really in the area we were hoping to stay. And it turned out we had some problems there. I've long since forgotten what, but we moved. We found a place near the Termini - the main train station in Rome. From there, you can get most everywhere in the city. We were relieved that the pension had a room available.

The man at the counter of the new pension was very nice and got extremely excited when he saw my CNN baseball cap. Working for Turner, I got this sort of thing all the time. It was no big deal to me. So, I gave it to him. He was stunned and very excited. (Keep in mind, that through this entire exchange, I spoke no Italian, and the guy spoke no English. It's amazing what you can communicate without words.) A short while later, there was a knock on my door. Baffled at who it could be, I opened the door to find the man from the counter. He handed me a beautiful papyrus that had an Egyptian painting on it. He insisted that I keep it. And I have. To this day, it hangs on my wall.

There is so much to do and see in Rome, it's often easiest to take a "tour". If you take one of those coach tours, it would cost 50,000-60,000 lira. Someone suggested to us to take the "city bus" tour - it cost only 10,000 lira. We did and it was worth every penny. With the city bus, you get out at every major attraction. The bus driver plays the part of tour guide as well. We saw all sorts of things and left feeling like every lira had been well-spent.

Now, I have to interject here a couple of interesting things. First, if you ever go to Italy, don't bother with the pizza. There are pizzerias everywhere. But pizza was basically created in the USA. We tried pizza...several times. It was generally soggy, and rather gross. Certainly not what we expected or wanted. Second, the last time I had been to the Vatican, I was probably around 10 or 11, maybe even younger. the thing that most struck me about my return as an adult was that the perspective changed for me - substantially. I won't go so far as to say that everything looked "shorter", but I was certainly not looking "up" as much as I had to before to see everything.

Finally, we were on our last leg. We took a train up to Bologna. Now this is really an interesting little city. It is NOT a tourist city at all. We stayed in a beautiful little pension that looked across the red roof-lined streets of the city. There are two rather interesting towers in Bologna, including the Pisa-like lean that made the "Leaning Tower" so famous. One of the towers actually has a large portion of the upper section broken off. Apparently, two families were in great competition and built the towers. They each wanted their tower to be "bigger and better" than the other family's. One family built its tower a bit slower, with more thought. Ultimately, the tower that was put up faster (and higher) began to lean and finally the top section fell to the ground, making it the shorter of the two.

The other thing of note in Bologna is the food. Italians all recognize Bologna as being the best place to eat. The then president of Turner International was a native of Bologna. He had given me his card and he highly recommended a restaurant called Ristorante Diana. With only a single night in Bologna, we decided this was where we wanted to eat. The restaurant is near the old part of town and is very formal. We arrived to find out they don't take walk-ins, and reservations are normally made weeks in advance. Bummer. But on a whim, I whipped out the business card of our President and the maitre'ds eyes lit up. He said he could work us in around 9. So, we wandered the streets for a couple of hours before dinner.

Let me say, Ristorante Diana was fantastic. The food was perfect, by far the best we had had anywhere in Italy (and we had had some GOOD food before). It was the perfect way to end our trip, really.

The next morning, we had to get up before dawn to catch our train back to Milan and then our flight home. As we arrived back at the pension (quite late since we had sat down for dinner after 9PM), the proprietor was trying to tell us something. We couldn't quite figure it out until he handed us an Italian newspaper. Uhoh. Tonight was when Italy went onto Daylight Savings Time. We would lose an additional hour of sleep! It was a brutal trip home, as we had had too little sleep the last two nights before we left. Then, on top of it all, our flight out of Kennedy back to Atlanta was delayed by more than five hours. I was so tired I wanted to cry.

And so, my new passport was initiated.

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Thursday, November 11


Veteran's Day Thoughts

So, today is Veteran's Day. I don't believe I've ever had the day off before. But yesterday, around 2:30, my employer told me that we would be off today! Hooray! There is a temptation to just play around and have some fun.

But today is a holiday for a reason. For the last 228 years, our country has been defended by people who are willing to step up and sacrifice themselves, their time and their family for the ideals that this country was founded upon. Although Veteran's Day, specifically, was created to remember those who fought in World War I, it was later amended (after WWII) to just refer to "veterans", which now includes everyone from WWI to the current Iraqi conflict (although technically, they won't be veterans until they have left the conflict or the conflict is over). So, today, I will remember people like my grandfather (a former Brigadier General in the U.S. Army - he was in action in WWII, Korea and Vietnam), my father (a former captain in the U.S. Army - he was in Vietnam), my uncle John (also US Army), my father-in-law (who flew as a flight engineer in the Korean War), various other friends (like Wes Cochran, Julie Dietrich, Cameron Mandrake, John Schowalter, etc.) and family (like Chris Reid) who are currently serving or have served in the U.S. Military. It is so easy to focus on what's wrong with our military and/or policies (I hear this from folks daily). But don't forget what is right - the sacrifices these young men and women make to protect our nation.

So, I challenge you on this day to think of and pray for those who have served and are serving our country. I can't imagine that there would be any person out there who doesn't know at least one person who falls into that category. It's not about whether you agree with the policies and programs of our government. It's about remembering those who have given their time, talents and even their lives.

Thank you, Veterans! You are our heros!

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Thursday, June 10


What's in a Name?

From the time I first took a legal position (I was still in Law School) until very recently, I used an excellent word processing program called "WordPerfect". It was truly an excellent program. Initially, it ran on DOS and had a large number of wonderful quick keys to do some of your most used functions. With the popularity of Windows, it migrated, incorporated features that allowed its old-time users to continue to use their familiar quick keys, instead of having to learn new ones or resort to using the mouse (which is quite a bit slower).

Along came MS Works and then MS Word. Because it was a MS product, it touted itself as bigger, better and badder than anything else out there. They gave away the program for free with many computers and with Windows. They snapped up marketshare left and right. But they did one thing wrong - they didn't truly build a user-friendly program. Sure, they put in the basics, and eventually added a few bells and whistles, but essentially, the program doesn't hold a candle to the features offered by WordPerfect.

Today, after accidentally almost deleting my file for the third time while trying to change the formatting using quick keys (sometimes, my fingers type faster than I form thoughts - I've been using WP for a long time), I decided to do something about it! I was trying to both arrange my computer and its settings to something palatable, and fix a lot of the settings in MS Word (with which I am stuck at the moment), including using keyboard scripts and quick keys. In the process, I found an excellent website that compares the two programs and the features of each. To my dismay and severe disappointment, I discovered that not only can I not get the keyboard to do exactly what I want and am used to, I can't change it at all! Repeat after me, MS Word is useless!

I finished my first week of work today. The week went by terribly fast, but enjoyably. When I returned home from work, I found that someone had been here to repair the floor in our hallway - there had been a "soft spot". Well, the "repair" job now means that the floor is lower than it was in a much larger area than before (previously the soft spot had been right up against a wall, so we didn't notice it that much). Sigh.

Kirk is back to driving the Spit again for a while. He needs to replace the brake pads on his motorcycle before he rides it again. I drove him to work this morning (since the Spit was parked up there). I think he's glad that, since we got the Jeep, I am no longer using it as a daily driver. It should be a busy weekend!

FYI, I've decided to write a series of articles called "A Look Back", reviewing our trip and the lessons learned there. Coming soon!

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Wednesday, June 9


Just Because (a/k/a It's All Different)

What a day! I wasn't going to post anything because I didn't feel like I had all that much to say, but like my friend Neil when I was in New Zealand, Sean has decided that I'm not PERMITTED to maintain silence for a whole day. So, JUST BECAUSE Sean has prompted it, you are now being subjected to another useless commentary!

I love my job. I enjoy working with the people I'm now working with and doing something I can believe in. Who cares if I make about 8% of my former salary. Just think of what I no longer have to deal with:

- Before, I had a job where if I wanted to leave or had a commitment and then something came up at work, too bad. I had to stay at work. Now, if I have something that comes up, off I go (happened both yesterday and today).
- If I had a vacation scheduled, oh well! I would have had to go on the work trip and cut my vacation short! Now, if I have something I want to do something instead of work, no problem. Just let them know I'm taking the time off!
- In my old job, I was extremely lucky if I managed a whole weekend off with nothing going on. I worked around 80 to 100 hours a week. Now, I can pick my exact number of hours to work and I only have to work part-time.
- My old bosses would pitch a fit if I wanted to work from home. Everything was a battle. Now, I'm encouraged to do whatever works.

I could go on for pages, but I assume you're getting the picture. Where I used to have to focus on making money for the company, keeping overhead low, hours up, trying to keep workloads manageable, ethics in tact, and I was forced to live, sleep and breathe my job, now I put God, family and friends before work and respect the people I work for/with. And I'm actually a lot more productive that way (I say after a mere 3 days - wow! The week's more than half over!).

I did get a bit rushed today and was a bit late for my tutoring session, but luckily it wasn't a problem. The young man I am tutoring seems to be making progress. He's a very smart kid. But as with many teenagers, he often gets in a hurry and doesn't do the work thoroughly. I enjoy seeing his progress, though.


Monday, June 7


Work and Friends

Today was my first day of "official" work! Technically, our office is closed on Mondays, but I'll be working on Mondays anyway. There are things that I can do then much more easily without distractions. It's nice to finally have started. I've got about 3 weeks of overlap with Linda, the woman whose place I'm taking, in order to figure everything out. There's a lot to do and learn, but luckily, my time volunteering has helped a lot and much of what I'll be doing I'm already familiar with.

I also got to go hang out with my girlfriends for dinner. There was a group of 5 of us who went to Hawaii several years ago. Four of us are still in touch, so we've been having dinner once a month. Tonight, we met at Leo's - a Mexican joint nearby. Unfortunately, Michelle was unable to make it - both of her children (one is a newborn) got sick today and she just couldn't saddle her husband with taking care of them alone. Rena and Marie and I met anyway. It is always so nice to catch up with my girlfriends. Everyone is so busy now that it can be difficult to get together (which is why we schedule our dinners a month in advance!).

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Donna in Austria
Click for larger image Austria, August 2003