August 04, 2009

Learning to drive...or driving me crazy...

So the 15 year old son finally got his learner's permit about 2 weeks ago and he has been hard at work learning to drive...for having started just recently he is moving quite along and doing a great job at it, if I may say so myself! He wants to get on the freeway, but I've told him I need him to practice a little bit more on the roads and feel really confident before we jump on the crazy Utah freeways! One of the things I have learned to do is be more conscientious of my self as a driver, since I have to be a good example! LOL so we're doing this:

But I seriously wish he was still doing this:

It is the circle of life...

August 03, 2009

oh yeah that blog thingy

Sorry there have been no updates here.
Life has happened.
I should be able to update sometime soon, or at least get back to the useless and common daily commentary of life--but I do that on Facebook mostly so it really is hard to remember to come back here and update, just too much going on to remember to do it all.

April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day!!! This is a test post using my phone...

Did it work?

Jobs I've done: Tax Preparer...

In honor of Tax Day in the USA I want to tell you about a job I've done for the last 3-4 years part time with my friend:
I knew my friend did taxes for a living and he had offered that if I ever needed a part time job he'd be happy to show me how to do it. It just so happened that a few years ago I needed money to catch up on bills and I asked him if he was serious about it? He said he was. Turns out even a duffus like me can learn to do taxes.
Before this I had always gone to the good ol' guys at H&R Block to do my taxes, but was getting tired of getting ripped off with fees for every extra, so I was doing an online search and had been doing my own taxes for a year or two on my own, but never dared doing them for anyone else!
I went through a few days of training with him and learned the intricacies of standard deductions, schedule A, B, C etc etc etc. The job is mainly data entry and the system tells you when you've screwed up or not. Customer always tells you what they want to declare, so there's no going wrong, even if their information is wrong, it is what they tell you and the customer is always right!! There are days at his office when the customers are literally lined out the door and they'll wait however long they need to. Most of the customers he has are Spanish-speaking, they usually have lots of dependents, so a refund is almost always guaranteed. Most of all, customers are very appreciative when they're explained how things work and that the government will actually send money back to them---it blows their mind!
However, many of them have been used to the royal treatment and when their dependents grow older and they can no longer be used to get that nice kick back, they get very upset and demand that you find them money somewhere! Funny how the human behavior is, one year you're glad to discover you're getting money you weren't even expecting and next year you feel entitled to getting it all and there's hell to pay if you don't come through!!!!
I mainly do this job because it is easy money, but I really do wonder the real benefits of it. Of course the filing fees for my friend are a mere fraction of the rest of the professionals, which makes it very affordable for a lot of people. It has been interesting to learn this field, my friend keeps telling me that in the near future this may be a much more regulated industry, but until then I can pretty much fill out computer screens gallore and hope the customer doesn't go overboard in deductions. Oddly enough, I still do my own taxes, not even using my friend's software, I still get a much better deal on my own!!

April 13, 2009

Sunday's Blood Sugar Report: 109

That was even after two Easter events with both families and no medication!

I'm so proud of myself, I've been keeping busy, hitting the threadmill during lunch, my goal is to do 1 running mile (usually between 12-15 minutes) and walking the dog in the early morning and late evening.

Oh yeah I guess moderation in eating helps...

I go back to the Dr on Friday, we'll see if my blood tests say I'm doing alright....

Giving up diet it possible?

I found out on Saturday while volunteering for my kid's soccer team activity that they're not supposed to drink anything with carbonation, I guess it slows them down horribly.

I asked him about it & he said it is true, but since there's so much soda in the house he can't really give it up. Granted I knew there was something fishy about him drinking my Diet Pepsi, since no one else but me ever drank it. Well, I told him that if he is not supposed to drink it and if I'm the problem then I'm willing to give it up....

I didn't have any far so good. I haven't had any today and I'm starting to feel the withdrawal...

Wish me luck folks!

I suppose I could drink it at work while he is at school and not see me, but then I'd be cheating and don't feel comfortable doing that to my kid....

April 07, 2009

Quorum of the 12 Apostates...(mmmhhh)

This is one of the funniest things I've seen this week: The Daily Universe (BYU's elite newspaper) printed this picture and it has caused all kinds of ripples...don't look at me, I'm just the messenger, LOL

April 02, 2009

Generational Gap

I was watching the news this morning and there's all this hassle about Michelle Obama touching the queen of England!?!?!?!?!?





I guess people get briefed on this kind of thing before meeting someone like that, right?

Meeting the queen: Curtsy, don't touch her!!!!
Meeting the prime minister of Japan: No sushi jokes!
Meeting the Governor of Utah: Polygamy, don't go there.....
Meeting everyday people from Chicago: Don't let them touch you!
Meeting the prime minister's wife of India: Don't stare at her red dot!
Meeting any Latin American President: Don't put an "O" after every word, that's not Spanish!

Well Michelle Obama shows that pomp and circumstance are OK, but then the woman follows her own heart's pomp and circumstance!!! Forget Jackie O, Madonna or any other startlet. I think that England has a new person to obsess about.

Go Michelle!!!

March 28, 2009

The Candy Dish

My sister in law called me the other day to ask my opinion and this has left me with lots of things to think about. She works as an administrative assistant at the communications office in another state agency and there has been a candy dish there that people really gravitate to. The normal traffic for this office comes from all walks of life, top administrators to front-liners and many visitors (reporters, lobbyists, etc). My SIL's concern is that she doesn't eat candy, therefore she hadn't bought any candy for long time and the dish has been empty for a while, but of course, people ask about it.

My wife used to work in that very position and every now and then would buy a bag of candy or chocolate, even though she would hardly ever eat any herself. I told my SIL that she should seriously consider finding a buck or two and buying candy for the dish, because the dish itself is part of the culture of the office in ways she does not even realize. There seems to be a general consensus that the candy may be just an excuse to drop in, but lots of formal and informal businesses get transacted around this candy dish. Seems like the candy dish has a deeper meaning to people than the obvious. I know in my own job there seems to be a place that people gravitate to or a cubicle that everyone knows you can stop in for their needs (Advil, a fork, a cup!) Is there such a place at your work?

March 14, 2009

112 Blood Sugar

This week has been somewhat stressful at work, just too much to do and too much running around and no real time to watch the diet or exercise, so my blood sugar has been a little high.

I had to take my medication twice (I was at about 160) and it usually suppresses it so much it really makes me sicker in the morning (pushes it down to about 95). Big fluctuations like that send my body on a wild spin. Two nights ago I cut my pill in 1/2 and felt much better in the morning. Of course when I do everything like I'm supposed to I don't even have to take my pill---yeah, that means I would have control----ha, ha, ha!

So this morning I felt rested, woke up at 7:00am and took the dog on a 2 mile walk. Checked my blood sugar again and it was at a comfortable 112 before breakfast. My doctor told me he preferred that I was around 90-100, but in my experience being anywhere around that range just doesn't feel good, at least to me.

Oh the joys of Diabetes Type II

March 01, 2009

What? March already?

Crap, how did that happen? I've been super busy working and trying to stay ahead of the bills that time is just flying by. I have to be more diligent and start slowing down to smell the coffee.

February 15, 2009

25 Things...

Thanks to Facebook and my darling niece who tagged me, I give you 25 things:

1. My earliest baby memory is looking through the bars on my crib. I have no idea what age I was, but had to have been very young (unless I was in a crib way past baby age) I’m sure that my mom thought I was asleep!!!
2. When I was about 11 my sister sent me on an errand across Mexico City by myself. I rode 2 buses and 2 subway lines each way to find my aunt, who was mortified that I was sent all alone. I didn’t think it was that big a deal, I knew where I was the whole time!
3. I learned to drive at age 13, my older cousin Angel and I were washing my sister’s car and he threw the keys at me and told me to drive, so I did. That means I’ve been driving for almost 30 years!
4. I discovered Mexican Folkloric Dancing in Junior High and loved it! I danced for a couple of years and not ever again until about 20 years later in Salt Lake I joined a group and it is still as fun as it was back then (but I get tired much faster, of course!).
5. When I moved to Texas from Mexico, I took Spanish classes. I thought it was the dumbest idea ever, until I realized that I was learning English backwards, as the class learned vocabulary, I was doing the reverse and then I also learned Spanish literature and went to a few plays.
6. I was ranked 105 out of about 460 in my graduating high school class, but still 7 notches away from graduating with honors. I still kick myself about that one.
7. I went on an LDS mission at age 18, not 19 as it is the norm. I cheated because I left from Mexico where I could leave 1 year early instead of having to wait an extra year.
8. In 1989 I went to New York City for the first time and went to the World Trade Center. I got lucky enough that time that the weather was clear and they were letting people up to the very top of the tower. I could see helicopters flying “down below”. I also walked all over Manhattan, it was a blast!
9. I almost got a job as a Chiropractor’s assistant in El Paso, Texas once; but the day I was supposed to start he told me never mind, he saw me reading his postage meter during the interview and somehow or other that rubbed him the wrong way (?!?!?). I wonder what would have happened with my career had I worked and stayed there.
10. I worked as a medical assistant for several years in Houston with an old Cuban doctor. It was great and I learned tons of stuff but he was the biggest grouch in the world. Still, I think I was one of his best assistants ever and taught me the concept of being one step ahead of my boss.
11. I have three siblings still in Mexico that if I ran into them on the street, I would probably not recognize them. Sad, but true.
12. I’m a big movie buff, but my favorite movie of all time is Ferris Buehler’s Day Off, followed by Stand by Me. The one movie that makes me cry is Legends of the fall, when Tristan cries by the graveside of his younger brother because he couldn’t save him during the war.
13. When I met my wife she hated me, she thought I was arrogant and a big show off!
14. I’m a big technology geek. I love to have gizmos and gadgets and wouldn’t mind spending tons of money on them if I could…. (I heart my iPhone!)
15. As much as I love email, nothing beats a hand-written letter or card. My dad showed me how to write good, sincere and heart-felt letters as a kid and anytime I write one (not often enough!) I remember him showing me how to do one.
16. I had never been to Canada until four years ago when I visited Niagara Falls with my wife and kids. We also visited Toronto, loved both cities. A couple of years later I visited Vancouver, BC
17. That trip to Niagara Falls was also the first time I ate a New York stake (yep in Canada) and we have been big fans ever since.
18. I can find my way just about anywhere, with little or no directions or remember quickly how to get somewhere I’ve been to before even many, many years later, but I’ve been known to ask the occasional direction from a cop/stranger…gasp!!
19. My favorite holiday is Halloween. My kids have converted me into dressing up and enjoying it all the way. I love Valentine’s Day almost as much. I don’t have a least favorite one, but Christmas is way down on the list.
20. I love road trips. Probably stems from the fact that I had a big family and plane rides were scarce, but love to get in the car, buy junk food, play good music and drive for hours and hours.
21. About 10 years ago, I went back to college to finish my degree & get my boss’ job as a clinic manager, but once a got a job as a clinic manager, I HATED IT!
22. Our extended relatives call us the M&M family; our first and last name initials are all the same for all 4 of us Miguel/Monica/Marco/Megan.
23. I hated the thought of ever drinking diet soda, until I was told that I was a diabetic and I couldn’t drink regular soda anymore. I got used to it in less than a week and now I think instead of having a diabetic ID bracelet, I think I’ll tattoo a Diet Pepsi logo on my wrists.
24. I have driven the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) from San Francisco to LA twice, most fun drive ever and very therapeutic, I highly recommend it.
25. I can’t relax, literally. If I’m watching TV I have to be doing something else, folding clothes, cleaning the kitchen, whatever, if I just sit to watch TV, I fall asleep.

Now all this listing was exhausting!!!

February 13, 2009

Jobs I've done: Gardener

This is not one job I was glad to do. Not that it was degrading or anything, heck I needed the money so it was worth my while. I got this job while I was waiting for my Medical Assistant diploma to come through so I could start looking for work in that field.

Someone at church got word that I was basically not doing anything and they knew someone who needed basically a warm body to dig, mulch, plant and move stuff around for a couple of weeks...(how in the heck did I get stuck?!?!). This was during that time in one's life when you don't know how to say no and don't want to disappoint people who think you can and want to do everything and also at a time when the last thing I wanted to do was be home available for my mother to ask me to take her anywhere. So I drove to the address I was given and showed up at the door of a very nice house in the North end of Houston. The very nice lady opened the door and showed me her yard, the mound of sand and dirt she had in her driveway and the projects she wanted done, how many days it was supposed to take and how much she was going to pay me (no negotiating--not that I would have known how much to charge her anyway!).

I realized in the first hour of doing this job that it was a huge mistake, ha, ha, ha!! I was not cut out to do hard labor!!! Still I figured I had given my word and I honestly had nothing else going so I went for it. I moved rocks for hours in a wheelbarrel and took a water feature (or was it a pond?) apart. That was just the first day of work. Over the next week and a half or so I dug out part of the back and front yard because they were sick of mowing/watering grass and wanted more flower beds. I had to take the grass out and move it to a dumpster, including more rocks! I then put plastic protectors on the ground before laying soil and planted flowers and plants of different kinds/shapes and forms. I hated it!!!!! I probably must have snapped at the lady a time or two, or at least made sure she knew that I hated being there, because somehow or another word got back to my parents that I was having 'attitude issues', LOL.

By the time I was done, I had blisters on my hands that lasted for another two or three weeks! My body was sore and I honestly don't think I had done any kind of hard labor like that before---or since! : ) But hey, I did a good job, bad attitude or not, the yard looked nice and it was good to get that accomplished. The best part was that I got paid hard-cold cash and it was all mine!!! I learned lots of lessons from this experience, not just for the obvious ones about hard work. I learned that I don't always have to say yes to everything people ask, I could have said no thanks (of course I could have spent two weeks at home, loaffing off but broke!). I also learned that although it was not exactly the line of work I was facing as a career, it gave me an appreciation for how hard it is to do that kind of work for not much money to be honest...The biggest lesson of all was probably that once I committed to it, no matter how stupid and physically wrenching the job was, it was important for me to do it completely and finish it, even at the expense of my aching muscles, sore hands and crappy attitude.

I remember years later doing landscaping at my house a couple of years ago. I really was hard work again, laying bricks, digging, planting and doing lots of the same stuff again, but this time I had a different motivation and the circumstances were not the same, of course! I do love to grow vegetables in a garden though! I tip my hat off to those who gardening and landscaping, it is hard and difficult and I have outmost respect for them, because every now and then remember what it was like to have blisters and put my lazy hands together in prayer to thank my lucky stars that I don't have to do that kind of work--unless it is a weekend project for the house in which case I have no choice!!

February 10, 2009

Worst day at work ever!!!

I had what is probably the worst day at my job yesterday. I normally don't like to talk smack about my job because after all, my fair employer could find out about it and don't want to be in trouble with them.

But yesterday was just a bad day overall, no control over anything, panic ensuing everywhere I turned and no way to keep things under wraps. We implemented a new system and that is usually how things go, the first day things are insane and there didn't seem to be a way to mitigate anything; as the day progressed, things just kept getting worse. Finally at 6:30pm I felt beat up, overwhelmed and well, defeated.
I got in my car and I couldn't take it anymore, I hit the steering wheel a few times and screamed a few obscenities and for some reason, it all felt better : ) !!! I kept telling myself not not take anything personal, but I just couldn't. Most of the problems were such that I could not do anything about them from where I sat, yet I felt powerless.

I love my job. I seriously get up in the morning and look forward to doing my job most days and while I knew there were going to be problems and challenges, I was very optimistic at 7:00 am Monday morning, but all of that was dashed in the evening. Apparently I managed to snap at a few people and bite a few heads off, which is nothing like I normally am--I had to walk around today issuing public apologies for my behavior yesterday, which was the worst ever for me. I have to confess that I was reluctant to face today, but had to anyway, nothing I could do about it, but today is a brand new day and things are not nearly as bad as yesterday. I have to somehow figure out a way to prepare to deal with another possible day like that, what to do, how to cope and how not to react negatively.

Was it the full moon?

How do you deal with a day from hell at work?

February 02, 2009

Diabetes Talk: Dietary Fiber

I get these emails from a list I subscribe to. As far as I know they're not copyrighted, and the information is usually pretty good, so I'll pass it along here as often as I can.

Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate but since it isn’t broken down by the human body, it does not impact blood sugar the same way that other starches and sugars do. Starches and sugars are broken down by your body quickly and you will begin to see a rise in blood sugar 10 to 15 minutes after consuming these foods. Dietary fiber actually helps slow down how fast your body processes other starches and sugars. This can lead to more stable blood sugar levels, a reduction in cravings and may increase insulin sensitivity.

Dietary fiber isn’t packaged alone; most of the foods that contain fiber also contain other types of carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals and pasta all contain fiber but also contain sugar and starch. Because the non-fiber carbohydrate will raise your blood sugars quickly it is important to account for it in your meal plan. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that you consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. This means an individual following a 2,000 calorie diet should consume an average of 28 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber Rich Foods: Mayo Clinic

-Raspberries; 1 cup; 15 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber
-Pear with skin; 1 medium; 15 grams carbohydrate; 5.1 grams fiber
-Apple with skin; 1 medium; 15 grams carbohydrate; 4.4 grams fiber
Grains, Cereal and Pasta
-Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked; 1 cup; 45 grams carbohydrate; 6.3 grams fiber
-Oatmeal, regular or instant, cooked; 1 cup; 22.5 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber
-Popcorn, air-popped; 3 cups; 15 grams carbohydrate; 3.6 grams fiber
-Bread, whole-wheat; 1 slice; 15 grams carbohydrate; 1.9 grams fiber
-Split peas, cooked; 1 cup; 41 grams carbohydrate; 16.3 grams fiber
-Lentils; 1 cup; 30 grams carbohydrate; 15.6 grams fiber
-Black beans; 1 cup; 30 grams carbohydrate; 15 grams fiber
Low Carbohydrate Vegetables
-Broccoli, cooked; 1 cup; 10 grams carbohydrate; 5.1 grams fiber
-Turnip greens, cooked; 1 cup; 10 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber
-Carrot, raw; 1 medium; 5.9 grams carbohydrate; 1.7 grams fiber

Jobs I've done: Phlebotomist

When I moved to Utah from Texas in September of 1991 I started looking for work just about anywhere, but one of my first calls for a job interview came the plasma center. Initially I expected it to be kind of a research place, where I'd be lucky enough to be part of the team that discovered the cure for a disease or something life changing like that; however it really turned out to be the semi-sanitized version of a blood bank but hey, I couldn't be picky, I needed a job and needed it fast!

I was in charge of doing the acupuncture injections to patients that basically came to sell their plasma and make sure that their IV fluids were kept on for the entire process. They would get the arm poke, get an IV with saline solution going and we would start drawing their blood--again, very similar to donating blood. There were comfortable recliners for donors to sit on and TVs with movies or other shows going at any given time, and we'd give them juice or other drinks while they sat there squeezing a sponge ball while their blood was drawn. Where it would get freaky was when we were done drawing their pint, we'd run it to the lab, the red blood cells were spun and separated from the plasma and other components and the donor waited about 15-20 minutes for this to happen. Once their red-blood cells were done, we'd put the bag back into the IV and the cells would be injected back into the person---hu?

This process allowed the donor to come in about twice a week to do this procedure instead of having to wait weeks as a normal blood donation and get roughly about $20 a shot. Now before you think this was the ideal job for a hobo or a homeless person, we had people from all walks of life coming in to do this, students, young and old, male and females. Sure, we had a good representation from the homeless , but there was good variety in all age groups and genders. There were times when things got a little crazy because someone would either pull their IV themselves or because they hadn't used the bathroom before they sat and IV fluids + juice + not using the bathroom before is a recipe for disaster!! But for the most part people were highly cooperative, decent and respectful. One of the things that I vividly recall is having a couple of people already having the hole in their arm basically callused and they knew exactly where to put the needle, if we allowed them they would have probably been able to do it themselves!!

If wasn't the most horrible job, but it wasn't the best job either, I lasted in this job roughly about 2 months, until someone from a job I had previously applied and took forever to call and do interviews contacted me. I offered to give two weeks notice, but when I told my boss about my new job she said to just go, she understood how this worked! It was an experience, to say the least!!!

January 30, 2009

Who knew I was a dog person?

Meet Jude--the dog that isn't mine, except when it comes to walking, feeding and bathing : ) I had tried to resist owning a dog for the longest time, citing they're just like having another child--an he is! I used to make fun of my co-workers whenever they spoke about their pooches and would tell them "it is just a dog!!!" Now I'm the one being made fun of.
Jude was born in July and came to our house around Labor Day weekend. The house has never been the same since he arrived. Before that time there had never been so many shoes and socks chewed and scattered all over the house. He has come a long ways from his first days at the house when he was a scared little mutt to now basically running the household. Not much can be done in the house without considering what happens to Jude, will we be gone long? Will he have enough water and food? Did you stop by to get treats for the dog?

He loves to amuse me with his quirky things and there's never lack of fun watching him, like whenever a door bell rings on TV, he immediately assumes someone is at our door, or when he runs into the back door beccause he can't tell whether the door is closed or open--I know, cruel, but he's getting better at it!
The one thing that edears me is the amount of loyalty that this dang mutt has for us. His love is unconditional and while at times gets to be a spoiled brat, he is also loving and caring. He took to me as his alpha-dog and follows me around everywhere. He loves the kids and my wife, but will follow me anywhere if I let him. He sleeps next to the bed on the floor--I have sleep apnea;there have been a couple of times that I haven't worn my c-pap and I swear that he has tapped me and woke me out of my sleep, I don't know if he has that instinct, but I was telling my wife that he probably feels that it is his duty to protect me, more than the other way around. It has been an interesting relationship. He loves his early morning and late night walks, I swear that I benefit way more than I ever anticipated being bothered by it. We had tried having dogs before but the experiences had not been as positive as this time...

January 25, 2009

Jobs I've done: Telemarketer

I don't even remember how I got into this job, I think is was sometime around age 21 or so. This was way before the time of caller ID and Do not call registry.

I got a job interview where I pretended to be making a phone call and somehow the interviewer thought I was worth a shot! I went through a few days of training before I was even allowed to make a real call. I remember being nervious as heck, sweaty palms and didn't know how I was going to get through the script, but I did it.

We called people in current events like politics, lifestyle and other topcs, mainly polls and opinion surveys. One of the advantages was that when needed, I could do my call in Spanish but the first few times I didn't know if I was supposed to--but neither did managers because they couldn't monitor the call either--ha, ha. However, in time they told me it was fine to do whatever made sense and I did just that. I don't remember exactly how long I lasted in this job, but it couldn't have been very long to be honest. I also can't say that I loved this job. It was tolerable and doable, but loved it?

I do remember talking to people and they moaning and groaning because I had called them during their dinner time. I guess I did the job for as long as I could, but honestly it is one of those things that I hoped never having to do again. Also, I was extremely glad that I did not have to sell anything, I would have had a major problem doing that. One of the things I learned about this job though that could be a good/bad thing depending on how you see it is that most of the operators were young kids, high schoolers to early college and it gave me a new appreciation for who is on the other side of the line when I got a call myself, at least I had to control myself from being rude to them.

January 22, 2009

Diabetes Talk

If you don't know from my old Windows Live blog, I was diagnosed with Diabetes type II last year. I don't like it, but I think I've learned to live with it, more so I've learned to do something about it instead of just having it.

That's OK, I blame genes for about 60% of it, but the other 40% was probably my doing. I try to have yearly physicals and up to early 2007 nothing had come up in labwork. I didn't have a physical early last year because I was living it up in Southern California and didn't have insurance. I was also packing in the tacos and every other kind of delicious food I could think of and when I came back to Utah it hit me like a ton of bricks. We were still living at my mother in-laws--I don't blame her at all, really :) -- around that time when my kidneys started hurting, of course I was thirsty as heck and going to the bathroom at all hours of the day. I had made an appointment to see the doctor, but my co-worker must have noticed that I was off-whack and he tested my blood with his glucometer and I was at about 380. He literally grabbed me and took me to the ER. By the time I got there and they tested me again I was about 475 (of course I was stressed/scared out of my mind) but then got under control with injected insulin.

The doctor says it was just a matter of time given my family history. Now I live my life according to my blood sugar levels, finger pokings and how far can I go without eating. That's OK, I have managed to keep my levels seemingly under control (around 120), I know it isn't the ideal, but I like the challenge of not having to take my medication if I do everything I'm supposed to and it seems to work! So I'll also be posting some diabetes talk here from what I hear, read and run across the internets!

January 20, 2009

Hail to the Chief!!!

January 20th, 2009. I never thought this date will ever get here. Not because of who is in charge now, but because I honestly never thought I'd ever see this in my lifetime--the first minority president in the Oval Office!! I respect the office of the President and anyone who is brave enough to run for this office, but since I became a Naturalized US Citizen I had never been lucky enough to have the man I voted for be elected until this time around.

I sat on November 4th with my family in front of the TV at 9:00pm when they announced it as official that he was the new President of the United States. I felt a lump in my throat, I had tears in my eyes. I couldn't hide it from my children and told them it was OK to let it out and they to started crying as we watched history in the making. I don't think being in Chicago in person that day would have been any more meaningful had we been invited to be there in person. I am very proud to be an American, but this time the pride just swelled.

I don't know if my candidate will get elected every time I vote, but it feels amazing to see the fruits of your work, getting people (mainly friends and family) motivated to register to vote and watch some of them vote for the first time ever. The momentum that this movement took even in Utah was amazing, one I will never forget and I"m sure there's yet hope in Utah for future Democrat candidates. I've also managed to turn my children into raging Democrats and I don't make any excuses about it--it would probably be easier to be republican in my state, certainly would have more company, but just don't see where the ideals of that party (while worthy) just don't mesh with mine.

So now I honor the new President of the United States, Barak Obama. A man who gives people hope for the future, hope that although we are are in hard times we can pull together as communities as a country and as a world.

January 19, 2009

Ever been a foreign exchange student?

My son is taking Arabic in school and was shown a scholarship program that will basically pay for airfare, school, room and board in a foreign country depending on the language. His choice is of course, Egypt (and the Middle East). If he gets picked, all he has to take is his luggage and spending money. I asked him why can't he go to China or Russia? He says that he'd probably have to take a year of the language to get some basic understanding, but that's not what the website says. He seems to be mesmerized by the whole Arab thing and at 15 years old he is still very impressionable.

Of course I have concerns for safety in a place like this, but hey, things happen everywhere, not just he Middle East. I also have to confess that I worry about the possibility that he might get just a bit too much Arab/Muslim propaganda that tends to very anti-Israel--I'm sure the teacher he has touches on these things a lot, I've heard him comment on the whole Gaza events.. I've talked to him about these things and tell him he has to have an open mind and understand that each side has many valid points, both are probably right but both are probably wrong too, it is nice to know all the points of view.

Whoa...I went on a tangent there, but I think it is important.

Basically everything the program looks good, he meets all the requirements and already has a passport. Mom says she'd probably be ok if he went for the Summer, I say I can handle a semester but he thinks he could handle a whole year if necessary. I think the experience regardless of how long he goes for would be priceless and the type of exposure he'd have to the world would not be learned anywhere else. He seems to be very into politics, sociology and is seriously considering some kind of career in Political Science and this trip would be a chance of a lifetime, but I want to make sure I touch on all the possible points, and ask the right questions if he gets selected, I'm sure we'd have to meet someone about this in person. So any ideas/thoughts, perhaps bad experiences that you can relate?

January 18, 2009

Jobs I've Done...

I have been crazy busy lately, work is insane and I work with my friend during the tax season so that adds more busyness. Nonetheless I was thinking of adding a category of blogging after thinking of all the different jobs I've had in my short four decades alive, so here I go:

Bus-boy at a Burger Joint
My very first job was at age 14. This was back in 1982. It was a mom/pop joint called Dave and Sons. Benny was my manager, nicest guy ever. My family had just moved from Mexico to the United States, Houston, Texas to be specific. In a family of seven children all under the age of 14 working wasn't only an unfair expectation, it was a necessity. I remember not understanding much of what people were telling me, but you didn't need to understand or 'speake-le-English' to clean tables, clear dishes, sweep, mop and take care of whatever people pointed at me to do. I still remember my first check, I was so proud of myself and I still have it somewhere. I eventually moved 'up the ranks' and within six months I had learned the skillful art of the Hungry Farmer (basically a Cheeseburger with Bacon and Hickory Sauce)--remember this was Texas!

I used to walk to work in the hot/humid Texas weather, sometimes I'd ride a bike and if I was lucky, someone would give me a ride to and from work. I did all the possible jobs there in next year and a half from counter, cooking, prepping to cashiering working evenings while in school and summer while off school. I made great friendships and learned lots and lots of things about hard work, but I also learned a lot about what teenagers did in the cooler while the manager wasn't there (smoke pot)-I was a good Mormon boy and the thought of joining them never crossed my mind, besides, they needed someone to watch the front! I certainly don't miss smelling like a cheeseburger and I made sure that I got home and took a shower every day.

Back to the helping family--I didn't get to do the teenager thing much--blow all my earnings at the mall---I wanted to, but it just wasn't possible. I remember once cashing my check and having my first ever $100 bill in my hand and my mom mentioning that we had no groceries in the house. We went to the Safeway down the street and got some stuff and remember handing the cashier my bill only to get about 28 cents back...damn, I'm not bitter about it though, it was an implied understanding that if you worked you contributed to the household. I'm glad for the lessons learned in my first job--they laid down a lot of good work habits and taught me the value of hard work and earnings. What was your first job?

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Someday I'll stand at Time's Square on New Year's. Here's to the beginning of a great year! I used to make resolutions for the new year, but we all know where those end up by January second...

The only thing I can actually wish for is to continue on my quest to be healthy and try to manage my diabetes (type II) without medication. I actually succeed at this more often than not. I wish for health and good times for my wife and children, they are my world. I figure if I can manage to stay on top of those things then everything else will be a bonus! So here's to new beginnings!