Thursday, July 30, 2009

Development Summary

When I started this class, I wasn’t sure what it was that I was going to learn. I was surprised to learn that how I was raising my daughter was how the experts suggested. I took what my parents taught me and applied it, I’m not sure if they read any books by the experts beside maybe Dr. Spock, but I feel that they did everything just the right way. They passed on their knowledge to their kids, adopted and birthed kids alike. I like to think that they helped raise more than just their three kids and the six grandchildren that we gave them.

This personal profile project helped me to fully realize that we didn’t have a whole lot of material possessions growing up, but what our parents gave us was worth much more than anything that they could have bought for us. For them to take their young family of my parents and my sister, and move to California where they didn’t have any relatives or friends was a huge leap of faith. To make it work out here on their salaries was an act of sheer will on both of their parts. They saw that they wanted a better life for their family and they were going to do what ever it took to get to that Promised Land. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said “I’ve seen the promise land, though I may not get there with you…” That’s was my parents philosophy without even really knowing it. They worked hard all of their adult lives so that their children could have a better life than what they had. That drive is very much evident in each of their kids lives today, we all want our own kids to do better than what we currently have.

I’m glad that my parents instilled trust, autonomy, initiative and industry in my siblings and myself. We have been able to establish our own identities through adolescence and intimacy as young adults. As we move into Middle Adulthood, I’m noticing that we are becoming satisfied with where we are in our lives and our ability to provide the same good traits of the Erickson Development model as our parents were able to instill in us.

With this model and the Piaget model to learn from, I’m almost looking forward to moving into the Older Adult phase, sitting back as I retire on the beach of Tahiti drinking my Mai Tai after a long day of scuba diving and reviewing my accomplishments that led to my being able to live the way that I’m living. I’ll be a large part of my grandchildren’s lives, just like my mom was a large part of her grandchildren’s lives.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Puberty and High School

I've been taking a class at the local Community College and have to write a paper, this is what I have so far.

Puberty was rather unkind to me, I got the really cool cracking voice, acne and glasses as my eyes went through their own turmoil. I was stuck between maturing and still being the geeky kid for most of my high school career. To add insult to injury, my parents thought that this would be a great time to get braces. I now understand that the delay in orthodontics was mainly due to the lack of insurance, but at the time I just thought that my parents didn’t want me to be dabbling in teen age sex. All of my friends around me were getting their physiques and were having girls chase them. I was always the odd one out.

During school I loved the sciences, I had great teachers who taught because they wanted to be there, not because they haven’t been able to write the next great American classic novel. I thought that I had a better connection to the adults in my life than I did with my peers. The person who had the largest impact in my life was my dad. He taught me how to be a man, camping, working with my hands and how to be respectful of women. “Treat them as you would want your mother treated”, that has stuck with me all these years.

My grand plans for after school was to travel the country. Through out high school, I had a map of the United States with little pins in it marking places that I was going to visit starting the summer of graduation. I had saved most of my money from my jobs that I had since I was thirteen. All of my plans changed the day of November eighth nineteen eighty-eight. That was the day I was called to the principal’s office. When I got there, one of my neighbors was there to tell me that my dad had suffered a massive heart attack and didn’t survive. It was a very rough rest of my senior year, all of my savings went to my mom to pay for the mortgage on the house because growing up, I learned that family came before self. I left the map on my wall though to remind me that I can still go on my trip, it will just be postponed for a little while.

The night my dad died, I realized just how many people he touched, and just how many people I considered friends. Most of my senior class showed up to console me and pay condolences to my family. Our tiny house was packed with kids and adults alike, family, friends, co-workers, bosses, teachers and pastors. I wanted to be alone, but they knew that would probably be a bad idea. They stayed with us all night to make sure that we were going to be alright. It was probably the longest night of my life.

I went back to school the next day so that I could give my mind something to do. I didn’t have a tenth grade homeroom, I didn’t have homeroom throughout high school, but my first period teacher tried to tell me that I should go home, but I told her that I needed the mental stimulation more than being out of school. We had a Mexican stand off, she wasn’t going to teach until I went home, and I wasn’t leaving. She did ask me to stay after class. She told me that I was the most hard-headed, stubborn, mentally strong child that she had dealt with in a long time and then told me that her and the other teachers were praying for our family.

I’m not to sure how much culture came into play during this time in my life, we lived in a very racially and culturally diverse area. There was a large influx of Vietnamese and Hispanic families. Most of the kids I grew up with were African-American, Chinese, Hispanic or Caucasian. The one thing that my parents did teach was to celebrate the diversity, that’s what made the spice of life.

The group of friends that I had and hung out with on a daily basis was the kids I grew up with. Some new ones who had moved into our school, but all welcome. We were lovingly called the "Odd Squad" we were made up of the Jocks, the “Stoners”, the smart kids, the dorks, the geeks and then there was me. I was told that it was hard to classify me, I told them that was because I was me, I didn’t want to try being anyone else.

Monday, June 22, 2009


So have you ever wondered where some singers come up with their lyrics? I'm listening to the Bob and Tom show via the web, they have a gentleman who has been a drummer and co-song writer for a number of years, having played with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Ted Nuggent, Peter Frampton, Don Henley, The Eagles, Phil Collins, and Joe Walsh just to name a few.

This is where it leads me to wondering where lyrics come from, specifically Joe Walsh and the song Life's Been Good to Me So Far, "I live in hotels, tear out the walls"... This really never made sense to me besides maybe the typical rock star behavior of punching holes in walls. No, Joe would bring in a chainsaw and literally cut out walls between hotel rooms with the chainsaw so that he could have more room.

Must be fun having that kind of money to have your accountants pay for it all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nothing really

It's been an interesting 3 months, we've had floors put into the house, we've celebrated 2 years together, we've celebrated our birthdays, the seasons have changed and we're starting to get into the Summer. I have gone from waking up and leaving when it's pitch black and getting home when it's almost as dark, to leaving when there's enough light that I don't kill myself walking down the porch steps and I get home when there's still enough light to do yard work.

That's something that I never thought that I'd like doing when I was a kid, yard work. It's not that I didn't like being outside, it was almost impossible to get me either out of the pool or find me when my friends weren't off on vacation somewhere exotic like Yuma AZ. This was of course before I got hooked on video games or later in life, girls.

This Summer I get to watch 2 of my nieces graduate (hopefully if it doesn't rain), while my oldest niece gets married. That's a very touchy subject within my family, the marriage, not the graduations. Darth Older Brother feels that she's making a mistake which will lead to her ruining her life, I had to remind him that even though we have the experience on our side, she's still a teen (19) and I also reminded him about being a teen and our parents trying to tell us that something we were about to embark on would be a mistake, but we didn't listen, we knew what we were doing and that we were right only to find out that experience is the best teacher. MN (Married Niece) is in that position right now, right or wrong, she's made her decision to marry a nice kid who is in the Navy fresh out of boot camp and in Nuke school. I made the suggestion that they wait until he's out of school and the Navy before getting married so that he can do his Navy stuff without guilt, as I'm sure did her mom, dad, and younger sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles on her dad's side, friends and probably other assorted strangers who were on the fringe of the conversation, she wasn't having any of that. She's chosen to take a difficult path in life, her husband is planning on making sure that she continues and completes school to get her degrees, now if she'll just listen to him. :) 

One thing that almost everyone probably forgot to ask was one question, is this a head, heart or gut decision. It was a gut decision, with that there is only one thing to do, love her and her new husband, wish them well and be there for when she has questions.

Now that the easy part is over, the I Do's have been said, now comes the hard part, Life. She's hard headed enough to survive out there, they seem to be commited enough to each other to stick it out. Hopefully she'll make friends before he goes out to the fleet for the 1 1/2 years on a carrier and the additional 6 months on tours in either WestPac or EastAtl depending on where he's stationed.

The one thing that can be done and should be done is that her parents should take solice in the thought that they, like our parents, have given the tools to survive, thrive and prosper.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Old me

I had an assignment for class which was for me to describe a significant event in my life.

Here is what I came up with:

The Day the Old Me Died

We had spent the last 8 months going to Stanford University hospital, to see the specialist that my wife needed. After what had happened 2 years prior, we were both more than willing to make the almost weekly trips there. We were both fresh into our 20’s.

It was on a visit to see the specialist on the 8th month that we received the news, the baby might be in trouble, all I could think was not again, I couldn’t go through all of that again, I couldn’t sit by helplessly while we lost another baby so close to full term. We lost Samantha on the 9th month, what they called a still birth. We sat in the labor room for over 36 hours, listening to her heartbeat slow, then eventually stop within the first hour. My wife’s diabetes kept the doctors from performing a Cesarean section on her to save our little girl. Helpless, that’s the only way to describe how I felt that entire time.

This was our second chance to start a family, we were so close and that awful night 2 years prior came rushing back all at once. My mind went numb as the doctors at the Stanford hospital rushed her into an emergency labor ward. They had the ultrasound technician there in the room every hour, to make sure that there was movement, and a nurse to check the baby’s and my wife’s vital signs.

The doctor came in and reassured us that everything that could be done, was being done. We would get the best care in the entire Bay Area and we would be bringing our baby home. They must have said that a few times, but I never really understood what they were saying at the time. My mind playing over and over again the events of Samantha’s delivery, praying that I wouldn’t have to go through that all over again.

The time that it took to go from the day’s scheduled appointment to the doctors giving us the news to my wife being admitted felt like it took a lifetime, but the time was actually less than an hour and it was still in the early afternoon, just the beginning of our long night. We looked at each

other and both started to cry, we were both a couple of kids who were looking at dealing with a very unpleasant event that no parent should have to deal with, for a second time in the same number of years.

As the afternoon slowly turned into evening, we were visited by the doctors and nurses in what would soon turn into a parade of optimism. With the ultrasounds starting to show promise, and the baby’s heart beat continuing to beat strong, our emotions and hopes started to rise. The parade continued on through the night, and around 4 o’clock in the morning I realized that the doctor that admitted my wife, had been there to check on us the entire night, he told us he wasn’t going to go home until our baby was born and in our arms.

I stayed next to my wife the entire time, My brother-in-law showed up and told me that I looked like junk. Then my wife told me that I should go get something to eat in the cafeteria, just to get out of the room and stretch my legs. I protested, I didn’t want to miss anything or go any where. The more I protested, the more she insisted until I finally relented. I stood and I could tell that my body was sore from atrophy, but my mind was still numb.

As I walked out of the maternity ward, I noticed a yellow line painted on the floor. I followed the line, whether out of boredom or out of sleep deprivation. I followed it down the long hallway, to an elevator, down 2 floors and then back out into the hallway. I followed that line for almost 10 minutes and realized that I was in the basement of the hospital. I turned around and noticed a robot coming towards me, following the yellow line. That was me too, a robot on auto pilot following a yellow line painted on the floor.

I had to get some food and try to get myself back. I stood to the side and let the robot pass, then followed the yellow line back up out of the basement to the main floor. I wandered around the main floor until I finally followed my nose to the cafeteria. I ordered a sandwich and something that looked like a pudding, found a table away from other people so that I could try to clear my head a little. I failed miserably, I didn’t see the neurosurgeons on the other side of a low wall, they were deep in conversation about the infected brain that they had just operated on. The pudding suddenly took on a rather unappetizing pall. My brother-in-law saved me from having to listen to the rest of the conversation.

He came into tell me that my wife was going into “hard labor” and that I had better get back up to her room. I don’t think that I touched the ground at all the entire time as I made my way back up the 2 floors to the maternity ward. As I entered my wife’s

room, it seemed that every nurse and every doctor in the ward was in her room. My heart skipped a beat, but I was whisked to the bed side and was told to help with the birth.

It took a little over an hour, but our daughter was born, we started to cry again, but this time we were crying because our daughter was born. She was alive and crying, that was the most beautiful sound that I had ever heard. She was born with a few problems, and was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but we were able to bring her home after a weeks stay.

My marriage to my daughter’s mom didn’t last, but we did create one of the most beautiful things in our lives. Our daughter stays with me, she’s a teenager now, and I couldn’t imagine life without her. She was there the night the Old me died, and was replaced with something better.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm Lazy

I was talking to a friend of mine from Chicago, he and I use to work together and we got to talking about the company we worked for. Apparently my ex-boss told him on more than one occasion that I was the laziest person she's worked with. A little taken aback, I asked him if she explained how she came to this conclusion. This is when it got a little interesting.

We would have a weekly conference call with all of the call centers across the country, Medford OR, Tulsa OK, Cedar Rapids IA, Madison and Waukesha WI, Knoxville TN, and Chicago IL. We would get on the phone and talk about anything that would directly affect the group that I worked in, most of the time it was no. So apparently that meant that I wasn't doing anything during my tenure at the company. Never mind that I was working with 3 other people from my call center, Medford OR, to create a model for the I.T. department which would aleviate 1 person carrying a pager for 5 years solid without relief (that would be me). We introduced a new model where we went from having 1 person who knew how to do a job to 1 primary person and 2 alternates who could do the job. This allowed for each person in the I.T. department to be able to take a vacation without worrying about their systems back in the call center. This model is still successfully in use today at the company in the other call centers, some 4 years after I left.

I guess I'm lazy because I had 1 person named Jerry who was afraid I could do his job better than he could (which I was very much able to do, even his manager said this) and I would make him obsolete, a scary prospect for a man in his 60's in an economically depressed area. I recognized that fact and would help him where I could, but he in turn would call my ex-boss and tell her all the projects that he had and she would in turn call me and ask why I didn't know about these projects? I let her know that, even when I would sit with Jerry for the 1/2 hour in the morning letting him know about all of the stuff that I was working on that would affect his systems, he wouldn't respond in kind, instead he called her to give updates. She didn't take the time to contact his boss and find out that Jerry was screwing things up and he was trying to make himself look better to management outside of his department. Go figure...

I'm apparently also lazy because when asked to write programs, I would, then submit them to the senior programmer out in Chicago, who would give them to my ex-boss and neglect to tell her that I wrote them. Vince is a good guy, but very aloof, when asked he would eventually admit that I wrote them, but ex-boss never asked, she just assumed that they came from Vince and I was slacking.

On top of every thing else, we had meetings... every day... at least 5 - 1 hour meetings. So I'd be away from my desk or on the phone with Chicago or a Vendor for that 5 hours a day, most of these meetings were just rehashed garbage from the previous meetings. We would have pre-meeting meetings to discuss what would be discussed in the "meeting", then we would have the "meeting", then we would get together to discuss what was discussed in the "meeting". Most of the time, I would be involved with the conference call meetings, and doing work that I could to catch up from the face-to-face meetings. I was also helping the other call centers implement software that was what they call "beta" (basically software that was tested in vendor labs, but not out in the real world. Management apparently thought that it would be a good idea to buy this software at a lower price and then double the price of the implementation by throwing all their resources at it to get it to work, only to abandon the project all together about 6 months after the implementation)

And on top of having at least 7 major projects going, I also found time to lead a 2 day training class every 5 weeks for the new customer service reps, introducing the tech team, teaching them how to use the technologies we provided them and when to call the help desk to open tickets. Plus walking through the call center daily to make sure there was no trouble out on the floor.

I have to admit though, when I got 1 bad yearly review after 3 years of stellar reviews, I asked "Why?" and the only answer that the ex-boss could give me was "because someone has to get it" Excuse me? This is the woman who I literally had seen in person, face to face maybe a total of 5 hours. She would come out to my call center, but she would take off with her friends and the 2 guys she was seeing from my call center and use the trip out to Medford as a vacation, just stopping long enough to do a quick walk through of the center. This review would not stand, I contacted HR in the call center, but guess what? The HR manager was ex-bosses good friend, so ex-boss was defended and later called to tell her about my confidental conversation with the local HR manager. Good thing I have friends in higher places than ex-boss or HR manager.... needless to say, after I complained and some amount of time and enough rope, these 2 hung themselves and were told that it might be in their best interest to find other employment.

I was told I'm lazy... I don't really see it. :)