Search

Donovan’s Steakhouse

Donovans

Follow SD Metro Magazine

Delicious Pinterest RSS
Advertise on SD Metro Magazine

Latest Tweets

A Mother and Daughter Odyssey

A Mother and Daughter Odyssey

Jennifer Coburn and daughter Katie 

Most of Jennifer Coburn’s books dwell in humor,

but her favorite is  a memoir of the times spent

with daughter Katie in months-long adventures in Europe

 

 By Delle Willett

Jennifer Coburn with her popular book.

Jennifer Coburn with her popular book.

Jennifer Coburn has a story for everything, a talent she inherited from her father, who could make a story out of tying his shoelaces. And he did all the asides and all the parts with perfect accents. Jen does, too.

She’s used her story-telling skills to create seven books, inspired by an acquaintance, friend, family member, or circumstance.

For example, her first book on the market, “The Wife of Reilly,” a story about a woman who wants to find a new wife for her husband so she can marry an old college beau, was inspired by a friend who called Jen one day and said, “I can’t stand my husband today.”

They discussed her plan to find him a new wife and buy homes next to each other, where they could continue raising their kids together. Regarding the wife search, the friend said, “I suppose I could take care of that since I take care of everything else in this damn house.”

While it was just fantasizing on her friend’s part, and gave them both a good laugh, Jen saw the story potential and ran with it.

Jen’s first book, “Tales from the Crib,” which she started when her daughter Katie was born, began as a series of 1,000- to 2,000-word parenting essays, and turned into a full-blown novel about how one baby can bring people together — so they can drive each other nuts.

Katie, at age 8, reads a books from a Shakespearean bookstore in Paris.

Katie, at age 8, reads a books from a Shakespearean bookstore in Paris.

“Queen Gene” is a follow-up book to “Tales from the Crib,” which takes the reader on a wild ride through the world of way over-the-top kiddie birthday parties, puppy psychotherapy and performance-art weddings with a family so nutty it will make you appreciate your own.

Mother and daughter travelers in disguise

Mother and daughter travelers in disguise

“Field of Schemes” came from Jen’s first-hand experience of having a child who played club soccer for many years. It’s about getting a fresh start in a town where soccer is king and parents are far, far too involved in their children’s sports.

“Reinventing Mona” is about a fictional character playing out a scenario Jen thought would be fun — trying to do an entire life makeover and failing miserably, all while helping transform the lives of everyone else around.

This is her least favorite and her best-seller. Her favorite and worst seller is “Tales from the Crib.”

“Which just shows you I cannot call the market,” she said.

”Brownie Points” is about a boy who wants to become a Girl Scout. The idea came about by chance while Jen and her daughter were eating lunch at an In-N-Out Burger, observing 50 Boy Scouts herding in the door. And Katie mentioned that a boy she knew wanted to join Girl Scouts instead of Boy Scouts. The story takes the reader on a hilarious journey as the boy’s family faces the fight of their lives and, in the process, discovers what it means to be family.

Tired travelers waiting for a train strike to end.

Tired travelers waiting for a train strike to end.

Jen’s most recent book, “We’ll Always Have Paris,” is a memoir of travels to Europe with her daughter, Katie, from age 8 to 16. The inspiration for the travels came from Jen’s wish to leave Katie with special memories of their times together through the years. Each of their four, month-long summer trips to Europe began and ended in Paris.

Best pals

Best pals

Jen’s mother suggested she write the book, her best-seller to date. During their European vacations, Jen and Katie, now 19, took lots of photos but no notes. So Jen used their photos to jog her memory of sights, sounds, smells and situations.

Jen and Katie have fun with these memories: Remember your surprise when Dr. Groovy told you to pull up your shirt? Remember that English pot roast that tasted like a shoe? I drool every time I think of those Nutella crepes on the Left Bank. Remember singing folksongs with those Korean tourists? How many hours were we stuck at the train station? Remember getting lost in our hotel in Las Casas Juderia? How many meringue puffs did we eat? Wasn’t that sliced octopus yummy!

Will there be a follow up to “We’ll Always Have Paris”? Well maybe, but not right away. Katie is now 19 and a freshman at M.I.T., studying brain and cognitive sciences. This summer she will be working at the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla.

By day Jen is a freelance writer for various magazines and newspapers. By night she’s a book author, working from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. “That’s the time I actually feel best. I would never survive a 9-to-5 job. I have nothing to say, nothing worth listening to at 9 in the morning,” she said. At the moment, with no book in progress, the lights will be out late at night.

Jen’s mother, Carol, had her in improv and acting classes since forever. And of course, she has a story about that. One of her classmates was

The passports are always kept handy.

The passports are always kept handy.

Anderson Cooper.

“I adored him. He was a lovely, lovely guy, very unpretentious and very unassuming. But if you told me he would be the most successful person in the class I wouldn’t have believed it because there were so many amazingly talented kids.”

His mom came to Parents’ Day at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre. “When I saw her I just assumed that she was just another elegant Manhattan mom, I mean, really, whose mother is Gloria Vanderbilt?

“And I told Anderson that his mother looked exactly like Gloria Vanderbilt. (Her face was everywhere as Gloria Vanderbilt jeans were in their heyday.) But it never occurred to me that it was actually her and I said something stupid like, ‘But wouldn’t you love to have that kind of money?’”

He just laughed and said, “That would be nice,” which she says was very telling. “He wasn’t being coy. He was just a regular kid. And the fact of the matter was that he didn’t have that kind of money — she did.”

When Jen, 49, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1988 with a degree in communications, she headed straight for San Diego, avoiding returning to her hometown in New York and getting back into a groove she didn’t want to be in. She arrived with nothing but a credit card and an offer from a family acquaintance to sleep on his couch for two weeks in Mission Beach.

Jennifer with husband William O’Nell and daughter Katie. O’Nell sports a broken arm suffered while training for his and Katie’s annual trek up Half Dome at Yosemite National Park. This family is nothing but adventurous.

Jennifer with husband William O’Nell and daughter Katie. O’Nell sports a broken arm suffered while training for his and Katie’s annual trek up Half Dome at Yosemite National Park. This family is nothing but adventurous.

In time, she joined an improv class. This time there was another young man in her class who was also lovely and sweet, there to work on overcoming shyness. 
It worked, at least enough for him to propose to Jen on stage in front of everyone in the middle of a show. His name is William O’Nell and he’s a self-employed attorney with a specialty in insurance law. He and Jen have been married to each other since 1993.

Jennifer and Katie at a San Diego booksigning.

Jennifer and Katie at a San Diego booksigning.

 

Expanding on her story-telling skills, Jen also experimented for a while with standup comedy. After writing her own material she would rehearse one hour for every minute on stage. “I was so, so afraid of standing up there and blanking that I over prepared,” she said.

“I walked in my neighborhood for exercise and people must have thought I was crazy ‘cuz I’m walking around moving my lips and I don’t have any ear buds in, but obviously speaking and gesturing with my hands. And in the shower, the pool — where I can’t even hear myself, but I just kinda visualized how it goes.”

“I’m glad I did it because it answered questions for me, but I don’t feel a burning desire to do it again… Well, I might do it again if I have something funny to say. I’m just as happy at a dinner party telling a story with some friends,” she said.

‘We’ll Always Have Paris,’ Jennifer Coburn’s latest book.

‘We’ll Always Have Paris,’ Jennifer Coburn’s latest book.

 

  __________________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

San Diego’s Finest Attorneys

 

David S. Casey

David Casey

David Casey

David Casey is managing partner of CaseyGerry, the oldest plaintiffs’ firm in San Diego. His career spans more than 40 years. His legal skills and landmark cases have had far-reaching consequences, impacting both consumers and the legal community. He was appointed to the national VW Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee overseeing litigation targeting Volkswagen over its diesel emissions scandal. He also serves on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee which oversees  the national MDL against the National Football League. In the past few years he has helped obtain many millions in successful results for clients in a complex range of cases that relate to aviation, maritime, premises liability, faulty equipment, government tort claims, complex motorcycle accidents, trucking and automobile accidents.

 

Jeff Chine

Jeff Chine

Jeff Chine

Jeff Chine is a partner in the Land Use practice in Allen Matkins’ San Diego office and is highly regarded for his extensive experience in land use and redevelopment. He has represented developers in state and federal courts against environmental groups and opponents of development in CEQA, NEPA, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Subdivision Map Act, Coastal Act and other challenges to entitlements. His projects include the master planned communities of San Elijo Hills, Otay Ranch and Fanita Ranch. He recently helped secure approval from the San Diego City Council for the One Paseo mixed-use project in Carmel Valley. He also successfully represented Sempra, the developer of an international wind energy project with wind turbines in Mexico and associated infrastructure necessary to transport electricity across the border.

 

John Gomez

John Gomez

John Gomez

John Gomez is president and lead attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys, which he founded in 2005. He has established himself as one of California’s most recognized and accomplished trial attorneys. Lawyers USA named him the national Lawyer of the Year. He has twice been named San Diego’s Trial Lawyer of the Year, a Super Lawyer in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and has been voted one of San Diego’s Best Lawyers by SD METRO Magazine in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.  Since 2000, he has recovered over $300 million in settlements and verdicts  for his clients with more than 75 separate recoveries of more than $1 million or more. He is a graduate of Yale University’s School of Law and was an Academic All-American football player at the University of San Diego. He is a member of the Summit Council, a national group of the country’s finest trial attorneys for plaintiffs.

 

Brian Katusian

Brian Katusian

Brian Katusian

is a leading tax attorney with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. He was recently named a shareholder at SCMV. His practice emphasizes tax law, ERISA/Employee Benefits, and tax-exempt organizations. He has been certified as a Certified Legal Specialist in Taxation Law by the State Bar of California. He has co-authored a chapter in the Continuing Education of the Bar — California 2016 edition of “Financing and Protecting California Businesses.” He speaks extensively on tax issues to the Western Pension & Benefits Council and the University of San Diego School of Law’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.

 

 

Michael L. Kirby

Michael Kirby

Michael Kirby

For more than 30 years, Michael Kirby has been involved in civil litigation, trying more than 50 jury trials throughout his career and obtaining total recoveries valued in excess of $275 million as lead counsel. He has received multiple Outstanding Trial Lawyer awards from Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (CASD). His expertise is extensive and covers a variety of practice areas that involve business, partnerships, real estate and investor disputes.  He is a founding partner at Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge. He is rated as a Best Lawyer by a leading national rating service and has been named a Best Lawyer in San Diego for 2014, 2015 and 2016 by SD METRO Magazine. Kirby has been instrumental in growing Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge to becoming  one of the most respected litigation firms in San Diego.

 

David J. Noonan

David Noonan

David Noonan

Over three decades, David Noonan has built an impressive career, representing high profile clients, receiving numerous recognitions and furthering the practice by frequently lecturing on best practices. He has played a vital role in securing multimillion-dollar judgments for both plaintiffs and defendants in complex cases that have involved consumer class actions, antitrust claims and misconduct charges. He is a founding partner at Kirby Noonan Lance & Hoge. His client list is diverse and has included American’s Cup yacht races, professional athletes, Fortune 500 companies and a former Playmate of the Year. Noonan is a past recipient of the Daniel T. Broderick Award for trial excellence and professionalism, as recognized by four major trial organizations in San Diego, and has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America for the past 15 years.

 

Heather S. Riley

Heather Riley

Heather Riley

As a partner in Allen Matkins’ San Diego office, Heather Riley’s practice involves a variety of land use and environmental matters, with a particular emphasize on writ litigation. She has extensive experience with the California Environmental Quality Act and has defended numerous private clients and public entities in land use and environmental actions in both state and federal courts. Most recently, she was elected president of the San Diego County Bar Association. Here professional recognitions include being named one of San Diego’s 25 Most Influential Business Leaders 2016 , a Super Lawyers Rising Star and a 2013 40 Under 40 Award honoree by SD METRO Magazine.  She is a volunteer  for the Girl Scouts of San Diego.

 

Frederick Schenk

Frederick Schenk

Frederick Schenk

As a partner at CaseyGerry, Frederick Schenk concentrates his practice on product liability, serious personal injury and asbestos law. His unique knowledge in the area of automobile collision litigation was also recognized when he was selected as a consulting  editor for Matthew Bender’s Legal Publication. With his partner, David S. Casey Jr., he has represented the firm on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee which is overseeing national MDL litigation against the National Football League. He just finished a successful two-year tenure as president of the Board of Directors of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, otherwise knows as home to the San Diego County Fair, and continues to serve on the board. The position entailed overseeing operations at the state-owned and operated fairgrounds. He is a past president of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.

 

Ronson J. Shamoun

Ronson Shamoun

Ronson Shamoun

Ronson Shamoun is a tax controversy attorney with only 20 years of tax experience including 12 years in legal practice. He has received numerous awards, including honored as a Best Attorney and Metro Mover to Watch by SD METRO Magazine in 2014 and a 40 Under 40 Award honoree by the magazine in 2015. He is the founding partner of RJS Law Firm. He has received the prestigious AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell, an award which recognizes an attorney’s excellence in legal ability and ethical practice. RJS Law has been recognized as one of the Most Admired Companies in San Diego. Shamoun has extensive experience in representing individuals and businesses before the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board.

 

 

David G. Weil

David Weil

David Weil

David Weil is the founding attorney of Golden State Law  Group. Over the past 40 years of doing bankruptcy law he has helped out tens of thousands of clients obtain a second chance  in life by helping them file their  Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 business reorganization. He has been listed as one of the top bankruptcy attorneys in the nation for 2013, 2014 and 2015, and was named a Best Attorney by SD METRO Magazine in 2013 and 2

016. He has filed over 22,000 bankruptcies in his 40-year legal career. He is a graduate of UCLA and earned his law degree from Southwestern School of Law.

 

Scott Wiliams

Scott Williams

Scott Williams

As a partner at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Scott Williams was at the forefront of one of the city’s most closely watched lawsuits of the past year.  Williams was the lead attorney representing the Plaza de Panama Committee in that group’s effort to  improve parking and traffic circulation in Balboa Park and to add new pedestrian-friendly plazas and gardens. He also prevailed in a case for S.D. Malkin Properties Inc., the developer of a beach-front destination resort for the city of Oceanside. The Malkin project had been opposed by San Diegans for Open Government. The case is now on appeal. He was a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice before entering private practice. Williams is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and received his law degree from Columbia University.

 

 

David J. Vogel

Partner, Hecht Solberg Robinson & Bagley

 

Jonathan F. Giebeler

Partner, Hecht Solberg Robinson & Bagley

 

Roger Denning

Managing Principal, Fish & Richardson

 

Juanita Brooks

Principal, Fish & Richardson

 

Dan Gardenswartz

Managing Partner, Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith

 

Lauri J. Stock

Partner, Solomon Ward Seidenwurn & Smith

 

Arlene Prater

Partner and Office Managing Partner, Best Best & Krieger

 

Neil B. Hyytinen

Partner, Hecht Solberg Robinson Goldberg & Bagley

 

William Eigner

Partner, Procopio

 

Ilona Antonyan

Founding Partner, Antonyan Miranda

 

Heather J. Rosing

Shareholder, Chief Financial Officer, Klinedinst

 

Gregory Markow

Partner, Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson

 

Craig Swanson

Founding Partner, Crosbie Gliner Schiffman Southard & Swanson

 

John Klinedinst

Shareholder, Chief Executive Officer, Klinedinst

 

Christina Denning

Partner, Higgs Fletcher & Mack

1 Comments on “A Mother and Daughter Odyssey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

Latest Issue

Click here to view the PDF version of our magazine.

Subscribe to Daily Business Report

Advertise on SD Metro Magazine

Voice Your Opinion


We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: info@probolskyresearch.com