Jan 28, 2008

A foray into a new world....

Today marked my first foray into the world of Teaching.

In m profession, I am expected to teach new applicants how to "do the job." That simple statement is an understatement it and of itself. My job requires some many thing of the practitioner, and all of these things are dictated by policy and these policies are dictated by law. So to simply say, "do the job" means a whole lot more. An average training period for an applicant is about 10 weeks. On top of that, there is a college course that is mandatory within the first year of employment. To say that today is my first step into a teacher's position is not actually correct. I have taught many new applicants within the facility and instructed them on how to "do the job."

Today was my first time teaching at the required college level. To teach out at the college level is no small feat. Only certain people are allowed to teach at the level, usually those of my rank or higher. And it seams that those are highly coveted positions. To get one it seems someone has to die and leave theirs to you in their will. But as it turns out, I got mine. And as a bonus, no one needed to die, excellent.

So I taught a college level course for five hours. I was very concerned at one point that I would be a failure. And I was worried that I would run through the materials in about 45 minutes and not know what to do next. But none of that happened, and the instructional course was, in my mind, a success.

I believe, given my training and experience, that I know how to my job very well. I also believe I possess the capabilities to impart my knowledge and experience on others in a way that is helpful, positive, and will help them better their careers.

So in the end, I took up about 4.5 hours. Not quite 5, but it was close. I held their attention, they asked good questions, and all in all, it was a success. I can't wait to do it again.

Jan 25, 2008

Relaxation, Mourning, Gratitude and a little Music

One of my favorite things to do, while I sit and think about the exploits of my life (and how to appropriately share them with the world) is to sit and listen to music. I never realized, with the advent of the mp3 player, how much I would listen to music when it is so readily available.

I have a rather large collection of music, and it gets bigger all the time. Its crazy. And when I hear a song on the radio that I haven't heard for a long time, or one that sparks particular memories, to get this particular piece of music only take a few clicks of the mouse. So here I site, listening to Europe tell me all about the Final Countdown. And although iTunes will want to shuffle to a different song at the conclusion of this one, I'll be searching for another one in my collection, that fits my general mood right now.

So that begs the question: What is my general mood right now? Honestly I'm not sure. I think there is a few different moods jumbled up inside me right now, so I will try to address them as I can.

RELAXED: Today is my day off. It seems like it has been a long time since my last day off (sadly though, its only been 4). But I am home today. I have no real schedule, and I can do the things I need to at my own pace with no sense of urgency. So I have been putting around the house, doing come chores that have needed doing for a little while now, and taking long breaks between each one, and simply loving the fact that I home. I think I am a bit of recluse, as I don't really prefer to go big social functions, I don't really care to hang out with too many people, and think a good home cooked meal and a movie on the couch is a perfect way to spend an evening with the one I love. I think that might be how tonight goes, and I'm excited about that. Yeah, I'm pretty relaxed right now.

MOURNFUL: One of the only things I actually had to do today was take a stool sample to the Vet. Ubu was sick the other day and vomiting pretty heavily. So he was taken to Vet. Dr. Bithel is a very nice woman, and I am glad she came to our particular clinic. When I got there, there was a woman leaning over the bed of a pick up truck. There was a rather large dog there who looked miserable. I went inside and the followed me. The receptionist came to the counter and asked who was first. They lady from the truck said I was but then said she needed help right away. Her dog was hemorrhaging in the bed of the truck and unable to stand. They needed help. There was a pained look on her face and, of course, I stood back and let them take priority. About the same time a young couple came out of one the exam rooms, quietly thanking the Dr., holding a small cardboard box. Here was a woman, more than likely about to lose a companion (based on the amount of blood I saw in the back of the truck when I left) and a young couple who had in fact lost a companion. Delia and I recently were the ones to come out of the room with a cardboard box, and I knew exactly how they all feel. Pain sucks, no matter where it comes from, and I know thier's, and hope it isn't too bad.

GRATEFUL: Although Ubu was sick, and we were pretty worried, his tests came back perfectly normal. For a 14 pound cat who is 13 years old, he is functioning normally, and is very healthy. So he had a bit of an upset stomach (who knows what caused it) but I would happily spend the money again to make sure that he is OK, and make sure if he isn't that we do all we can to help him along. We lost one pet recently, and seeing the pain in the faces of others facing the same type of loss, I think it would be too soon to face that pain again. So I am grateful he is OK, and that he will be around for a while longer.

So there it is. Me in a nutshell for the day. Tomorrow, who knows what that will be like? But for right now, there is a movie on in the other room and I think the couch is calling me back.

Jan 22, 2008

A mass produced computer, customer service, and a rant.

Here are a few thoughts on Customer Service and a mass produced product. A while ago we purchased a new lap top from a certain well known company. It arrived in expeditious time and seemed to be in good working order. A bright wide screen and all the add-ons that we wanted. We were quite happy.

Then, after about a year, something went wrong. We called the customer service line. The person was obviously foreign and at times it was difficult to understand the directions being given. Besides these small difficulties, this person was extremely helpful and took the time to make sure all of my areas of concern were addressed. Good. After a short time, it was determined that there was nothing we could do at home and I was told they would send me a box to send my laptop back to the company for repair. The box came, I shipped it away, eagerly awaiting a repaired unit. It was only gone about a week. It was delivered back to the house and I opened it up, looking forward to the refurbished unit and all its glory (here is where you should prepare for the big let down).

Expecting the choirs of heaven to start a reverberating chorus of "Hallelujah" I in stead was greeted with a meme from the customer service department. It read something like this:

"Dear customer,

We have decided your computer is not working right. We have found it to be hard drive failure. This is an item you can replace yourself. We did not fix your laptop. You can fix it yourself. we will send you the parts you need. Thanks for being a customer.

Sincerely, Customer Service Rep."

They sent me a box, and diagnosed my problem, and sent it back broken telling me to fix it myself? I am not sure what is going on here, but even after I fixed this problem as best I could and I still have some issues with the dang thing. I felt let down by a system set in place to lift me up and solve my problems.

I bring this up now, because I am typing this on the same mass produced computer. As I look at the screen, there are 6 vertical lines in the display that are a sign of worse things to come.

My only consolation here... Well, I don't think there is one. I am stuck with a display that is failing, a hard drive that still has issues since I "Fixed" it, and a customer service department who doesn't care because I am beyond the warranty (although it seems for all the face value they put on their customer service, they might not have ever really cared).

This is a bit of a rant. I know that. I planned this to be one when I started writing it. Its just the way life goes sometimes.

Jan 21, 2008

Dilemma solved.

First, a few words on "machismo."

According to Wikipedia: Machismo is a prominently exhibited or excessive masculinity. As an attitude, machismo ranges from a personal sense of virility to a more extreme masculism. In many cultures, machismo is acceptable and even expected.

Our new little friend, we believe, shows the very definition of this, Machismo. He has a little bit of a strut, he arches his back and shows off, and he is a brave little one. The very definition of Machismo. Of course, we couldn't call him that so the idea had to be shortened down.

The end result is Chimo (that's "chee-moe"). We like the name, and think it fits nicely.

Welcome to he family Chimo. I think you'll fit in nicely.

Jan 20, 2008

A change in plans and a small dilemma.

Even the best made plans can sometimes go awry. When we lost Kat Kat, we had made the descision that we would not get another cat until Ubu goes (we figured a couple of years). Since then, we have discovered there is a certian hole left by Kat Kat's departure. One, that although we had already decided to wait, we both felt needed filling. So, a wierd set of circumstances has filled that hole, our plan wen awry, and we couldn't be happier.

Allow me to introduceThe Cat with no Name. The story goes like this: The other night we went to the pet store, Fin 'n Feather. This is a great local store, and they are wonderful people there. When we got to the counter to pay for our goods, Sara (I think that's her name) askd if we wanted to adopt a kitten. Of course, we couldn't help but check it out. There was this little guy, in a very large kennel, lounging in a little kitty bed. As we approached he lifted his head and started pawing at the air. We played with him for a little bit, then decided it was time to go home. It was getting late and we both ended up going to bed (I had to work the next day).

When I got home from work, Delia and I were talking and found that we had both been thinking about the little guy all day. So it was an easy descision and off we went to the pet store. When we got there, he was gone. At first we simply resigned ourselves to the fact it wasn't meant to be. Then we found out that the person who adopted him earlier that day was nowhere to be found and never came to pick him up. So Chistine, from Friends for Life, was called, and he was brought back to the store the next morning for us to take home.
This little fellow is 7 months old, and he is quite the little character. It took him the better part of yesterday to get used to the house, the other animals (the cats are slowly warming up to him, and Bear just doesn't seem to care that he is here). He gets more brave alll the time and I think he will soon be quite a handfull. He is extremely affectionate, and he loves to sit in the lap and just be loved. So he is a welcome addition to our home.

Now, there is a slight dilemma. A name. This is the first time Delia and I have had to name anything together. And sadly, its proving to be more of a task than I had orrignally thought it would be. We go back on forth on the issue, and keep coming up with ideas that we think would work, but so far we have come up empty.

So that is that, we are now back to a full house, and we are happy with the results. Hopefully we can come up with some sort of name soon, or the poor little guy might end up with some sort of identity crisis.

Jan 15, 2008

A cup of coffe, a blog and 12 hour shift.

Here I sit at work. It's 0730, and I have all my tasks for the morning done. So here I sit, with a cup of coffee and a 12 hour shift ahead of me (actually, I'm down to 10.5 hours left). There has be a little talk that people would like to see the living room now that it has been redone. Here are a couple of photos that show off our handy work.

I realize these aren't the most impressive photos, and they don't really show the work that was done. But it looks really nice, and we're quite happy with it. One of our favorite parts of the room is the the Three Caballeros: Heffe, Enrique and Sheldon.

Heffe comes from Michoacan (for the rest of us people who are bad with the Spanish pronunciation, that's pronounced "Meech-whoa-kahn"). Part of the annual Day of the Dead ceremony, skeleton masks are a staple in Mexico, and Michoacan is pretty much the Hub of the Day of the Dead party. Enrique came from Cabo San Lucas. He also is representative of De Dios de los Muertos. Sheldon, being the odd ball, comes from Jamaica. He is simply a representation of Jamaican culture, and looks good up on the wall with his friends.

Our last little friend is our little House Gecko. He comes from somewhere in Mexico, although I honestly don't know where. He's very bright, and looks quite happy on our wall. We like him and the color he adds to the house.

So there you have it, some home improvement and a little photo documentation to support it. Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 14, 2008

A word on Parents

There is a funny thing about parents. They don't seem to mind when you need their help. This comes as a shock, here at this time of my life, because I can remember a time in my life when my parents thought that I needed to do things on my own. Now, it seems, I all I have to do is ask and my parents will jump in the recreational vehicle and travel for seven hours to lend a hand.

So I have to say thanks to them. They do a lot and we simply can not repay them for their generosity.

Now a word (or two) about in-laws. No, I don't intend to tell stories about how I make unexpected trips to the city library when they visit, or how Delia's mother calls and tells us that we are folding the clothes the wrong way (the reason for not commenting on these things is they don't exist, for those who were wondering). Instead, I should say that they are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. They have been completely accepting of me and Ben and we certainly feel like we are a part of the family. They too have been generous, and for that we are grateful.

I could not ask for better people to look to as mother and father-in-law.

Jan 11, 2008

A Change in the Weather

The last week has been filled with insane amounts of rain and torrential winds. It has been miserable. Ben, being a young boy who likes to go outside, certainly had a small amount of cabin fever. But he handled it well, and we found things to do indoors. He is home now. On the day he left there was definately a change in the dreary weather, as there was some sunshine and very little wind. It was a good way to send him off, not having to pack all his things out to my parents RV in the horendous rain.

As the weather has lightened a little in Humboldt, and the change was nice, so too shall the weather change here. I have recently commented on the things Ben and Delia and I have been doing, showing off photo's, and generally accounting the for the chaos that was our Christmas Vacation (and a perfect chaos it was, and I wouldn't trade it for anything). At times I found there were other things on my mind, but did not share them because it seemed there were other things that were more important at the time (I will always put my son first before me).

So now that he is home, I believe there will be a different feel to things here. I'll be posting pictures still, as Ben loves to see us on the Internet. But most of the pictures will be posted to Flickr and I will make sure there is some sort of notification posted here. I believe this is going to turn into more of a journal, of sorts. Random thoughts and comments on my life in general.

So stay tuned, or whatever you need to do, and I'll be posting more soon.

Jan 3, 2008

The road to.....

There is a common saying that says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I guess I should make it clear from the beginning that this is not a statement on the status of my eternal salvation, but only a comment on my life and the way it seem t wind. I am a firm believer that if the road is paved with good intentions, it is first leveled out with Procrastination. While I prefer to think that I am not a road paver, as I generally follow through with the things I have a mind to do, I am most certainly skilled at leveling the surface ahead of time.

I have always been one to put things off until the last minute and, sadly, sometimes even longer. as a result, I tend to finish most of my projects in a short amount of time feeling a certain rush in order meet a required deadline. Case in point, I have a memo due tomorrow that I have had almost 3 weeks to complete, yet barely started working on just 3 days ago.

There is a certain amount of change happening at the office. People have been promoted to new positions, people are being assigned to new positions and new people are being hired to fill vacant positions. Many people, myself being one of them, believe in the idea that change is good. With change comes new ideas and with new ideas comes a better working environment (in theory anyway). The people who have been promoted are people who think that way. I respect them and look forward to the changes that will be coming about.

Now, I am applying to be one of those being reassigned to a position. That position requires quite a lot of time at the office, a different work schedule and a uniform change (one of the perks of this reassignment, in my humble opinion). This position usually garners a fair amount of good natured competition between my co-workers. Knowing this, I should have been more prepared to file my memo. I should have spent more time preparing. About the only thing that I know will go right with my application is it will look good. For those that are in a business where presentation counts for something like this, remember that resume paper always makes a memo look better than the standard 20 lb, bright white printer paper.

So as I write this, at about 2330 hours, my memo is complete. It can be printed on a single sheet of paper, and is only one page long (although we are allowed a maximum of two pages to make our case). I figure I can have a couple people read it and critique the thing. After all, its always good to get the opinion of your colleagues, and I can make adjustments as needed. The end result will be in the hands of the powers that be.

I think the end result here is simply that I am not paving any roads. But for those making the trip, the road sure will be level.

Jan 1, 2008

A wishing well, a zoo and a park.

We went to the wishing well today. Ben picked out special pennies to throw down there, they were both very shiny and looking like they were nearly brand new, prime wishing material.

We both made the agreement that we would not share our wishes with each other, as that would make it so that our wishes could not come true. So I do not know what his wish was, nor does he know what my wish was.
That's one of the things about wishes. Keeping them secret, and leaving the consequences to hope, makes them that much more special.

This young man has always had a special liking for goats. I don't know why, probably because he simply loves anything to do with animals. For that I can't blame him. With a dog, 2 cats, a box turtle, 3 fish and two fire bellied newts, I can't say anything about loving animals to anyone else. But I have always appreciated his love of animals, and try to encourage that love any time that I can. Here in Eureka, its easy enough, as the petting zoo is around the corner and free. I love this place some times.

Along with the Zoo, and Sequoia Park, there is the Park (actually part of Sequoia Park). Swings, slides, and BBQ pits. Its not a bad park, and there is plenty for a little guy to do.

Here Ben had me give him few pushes on the swing, and he was busy playing with the old bicycling gloves of mine that he found.

We never seem to pass up a chance to walk in the woods. Henry David Thorough would be proud. I have to admit, I never really appreciated this park until the most recent visit of Ben's. I have come to understand that there are things to see and things to do in the park that I really never realized until this trip. For that understanding, I thank my son.

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