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!!!