A New Approach

2011/07/25

I realize it has been awhile since my last post. There are a few reasons for this. First, as many of you know, my first cousin was recently married, so I was busy being cheap labor. Second, I just plumb ran out of ideas. The second reason is what I would like to elaborate on.

Originally, I created my blog as a way to vent. When that blew up in my face, I began to participate in a bi-weekly event called Let’s Blog Off. After reading the blogs of the other participants, I felt like a chump. “Holy cow! These people can write.” I thought. I became discouraged and have not participated in awhile.

I really would like to write, but I do not know what to write about. As someone who is unemployed, I do not lead the most exciting life, due to funds (or lack thereof). Also, I do not want to be compared to some of my Twitter friends, who are absolute pros when it comes to blogging. Many of them write for a living. I do not. I am an engineer; I tear things down and rebuild them. I crunch numbers, I do not write.

Recently, I began attending New Media Dayton events. One theme that kept popping up was providing value. This made me think. I am not showing the world I can contribute or provide value. Time to retool and start over.

I paid closer attention to people’s posts and profiles. As I read, I thought about each individual and what his or her strengths are. Then it occurred to me. I can do this, too. All it takes is thought and some extra effort.

This new approach is quite exciting. I feel as if I have a purpose again. To those of you who inspired me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You give me something to strive for. Cheers to a new approach!


Truth v. Fact

2011/05/10

This edition of Let’s Blog Off is a rather philosophical one. Asking people to discern between truth & fact is similar to asking, “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” Everyone’s posts should be interesting, to say the least.

To begin my quest, I started to look up the definition of each word. I thought that would be too obvious. I went back to the drawing board and hit upon an idea. I let the words “speak” to me and decided to use their connotation.

Fact. The word is short and hard. When I hear the word fact, I think of science and other cut-and-dry areas. It is something that can not be argued. No questions allowed.

Truth. The word is short, but soft. It involves emotion. There is room for debate in a truth.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe fact & truth go hand-in-hand. A truth a body of facts. A fact is an actual occurrence.

After writing this post, I did look up the meaning of each word on Merriam-Webster’s website to see how far off-base I was. It turns out my definition of fact (an actual occurrence) is M-W’s definition 4b.


Not All People Are Bad

2011/04/26

This week’s version of Let’s Blog Off is about where we get ideas.  A question was posed about what was our real fear. Being the analytical person that I am, I have decided to take this question literally and answer this question for my post.

Straight up, my true fear is being alone.  I know this sounds strange coming from someone who lives alone and paid her own way through college, but it is true.  While I enjoy my independence, I sometimes find myself missing the element of human interaction.  I miss talking to people.  Twitter & Facebook suffice, but it is not the same as sharing ideas over a meal with someone.  There is a difference.

Due to prior experiences, I am not exactly the easiest person to get to know.  I do not trust people very easily, and I am a control freak. Ironically, Twitter has taught me that not all people are bad.  I just wish that some of you lived closer, so we could chat.

Am I looking for Mr. Right?  No.  If it happens, it happens.  I could care less.  All I want is someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who will listen, and someone who will talk back to me.  My cat can only do the first two.


Storytelling

2011/03/18

A while back, one of the Let’s Blog Off topics was storytelling and what makes a good story.  I chose not to participate because I did not really know how to answer this question.  After a few weeks of stewing on the topic, I think I have stumbled upon my answer.

Having spent the majority of my adult life in college, I am used to writing.  Granted, I am not too great at it, but at least I try my best.  College term papers & essay exams are analytical by nature – e.g. compare & contrast, list the x number of qualities, etc.  They don’t really focus on storytelling.  (English & literature majors may have a different experience, but I am not familiar with it.  I avoided those classes like the plague.)

Storytelling, I believe, is like letter writing.  It is a dying art.  Many people are more focused on facts and figures than on creating a narrative.  I wish schools would focus more on storytelling.  Maybe society would be more relaxed.  Who doesn’t love a good tale?  I know I do.


We’re Not Paying for It

2011/03/15

Most of us think of advice as words of wisdom.  Advice should be more than words, it should be something that is meaningful and sticks with you for the rest of your life.  The best advice I received wasn’t advice per say, but it taught me a life lesson.

I was 19 years old and wanted to be a civil engineer.  At the time, Miami did not have a true engineering school, so I applied to the University of Kentucky (UK).  When I received my acceptance letter to UK, my parents could not understand what I was saying because I was running around like a maniac.  After becoming coherent, I showed my mother the acceptance letter.  She told me this: “It’s not Miami, so we’re not paying for it.”

I was devastated.  How could my parents do this to me?  How could they crush my dream of becoming the greatest female civil engineer?  I mean, isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to pay for their child’s education?

Since I am a tad strong-willed, I decided that I wasn’t going to let my parents stop me.  Come hell or high water, I was going to find a way to pay for the exorbitant out-of-state tuition.  I legally declared independence from my parents, which made me eligible for a great deal of financial aid.

Later that year, UK announced that it was raising out-of-state tuition by $1000.  I could no longer afford to attend the school, so I transferred to my family’s beloved Miami and became a paper science & engineering major.  I thought my parents would pay my tuition since it was Miami.  They didn’t.  I was jealous of my friends because they didn’t have to worry about money.  All they had to do was call Mommy & Daddy.  I did not have that luxury.

Nearly 20 years later, I can honestly say that was the best thing my mother could have ever done for me.  I was forced to fend for myself without the safety net known as Mom & Dad.  Being on my own at such an early age taught me responsibility.  I learned I could support myself without anyone’s help and live to tell about it.

Advice.  We all give it; we all receive it.  I am glad I decided to be on the receiving end of Mom’s advice.


Love and Honor

2011/03/01

My fellow Miamians will know that ‘love and honor’ is the first line of the university’s fight song.  Love and honor is more than words to my alma mater’s fight song; it is what I want my legacy to be.  This brings us to today’s edition of Let’s BlogOff, in which we attempt to describe our individual legacy.

I try to live my life by The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”  I can think of no better way to be remembered as honorable.  Below are a few examples from my life.

  • While helping someone drop an engine into a car, I fell off a milk crate and ended up with a 4″ gash on my left calf.  This person rescued me during a snow storm, when I had a flat tire.
  • Working 15 hours one day to complete testing for a customer who wanted results the following day.  One of the electronics engineers spent an entire day giving me a plant tour because I wanted to better understand the customer’s processes.
  • Taking a friend to the airport at 4:00 AM.  He listened to my problems for nearly two hours the previous evening without complaining.
  • Staying up until 2:00 AM for three days straight helping a friend move.  When my ex paid me a not-so-pleasant visit a month later, my friend was the first person I called and encouraged me to contact police.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not nice to people just to get something in return.  I assist people because I care, and it makes me feel worthwhile.

Love and honor are basic needs of life.  They are what most of us strive for.  I can think of nothing more than ask to be remembered as a loving and honorable person.


Creativity: Something I Don’t Have but Wish I Did

2011/01/18

What is creativity?  I could quote the definition from Merriam-Webster, but that is too easy.  Being an engineer, I like to break things down and make them simple.  So here is what creativity means to me: creativity is thinking outside the box.  Creativity also means the ability to make a decision and stick with it.

I am very much a left-brain gal.  Math & science come easy to me.  When it comes to right-brain functions (writing, design, etc.), I struggle greatly.  This is quite evident when it comes to remodeling my home.

When I purchased my home two years ago, the entire house was painted white.  I was excited that I could finally paint the walls whatever color I wanted.  However, choosing paint colors was one of the most painful experiences in my life.  I spent at least an hour in Home Depot’s paint department trying to make up my mind.  Nearly $250 later, I am happy to say that the entire house is painted.

My next home improvement project is remodeling the kitchen.  The cabinets are newer, but I am in desperate need of a backsplash, countertop & new flooring.  To me, this is pure torture.  There are so many options out there.  I don’t know where to start.  I have a few ideas, but I am afraid I will not like them.  Thankfully, I follow a few design people on Twitter whose blogs have been somewhat of an inspiration.  Still, I am scared to make that final choice.

(The kitchen table is not usually this messy.)

As I continue on my quest of self-improvement, I am striving to be more creative.   I am discovering that survival depends on one’s ability to be creative.  For those of you that are naturally this way, you have my utmost respect.  I wish I had that talent & capability.


Summer Style

2010/12/21

If money were no object, what is the perfect gift?  This question was posed as a part of the Let’s Blog Off series.  Surprise.  This was easy to answer.

A true nurturer, Mom continuously puts others before herself.  She has been through so much pain within the last three years, I feel sorry for her.

Mom has vacationed in the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan since she was young and always loved Mackinac Island.  Since she is constantly around for support, I would make her Mackinac Island dream come true and buy her a summer cottage.

Mom’s other wish is to own a BMW Z4.  She has a 328i, but goes gaga over the Z4 whenever she sees one.  If she has a summer home, she might as well have a summer car.

I could list the endless projects for the house as perfect gifts for me, but that is egotistical on my part.  Being unemployed for the last 12 months has taught me that I can live without material possessions.  I have learned to be happy with what I have.  (Although a deck for the back yard would be quite nice.)

<— my back yard (Note: The white chairs are history.)

My best wishes to everyone for a joyous holiday season! :)


A Time for Healing

2010/11/16

When I saw the Let’s Blog Off topic of Thanksgiving memories, I must be honest when I say I wasn’t too pleased.  I decided to forge ahead (this is therapy, you know) and participate anyway.  Maybe someone will finally understand why I am not a fan of the holiday.

There are a couple of warnings.  First, this is in no way a ploy to get sympathy.  Like I said, this is my way of (hopefully) getting someone to understand me.  Secondly, these experiences do not make me the proverbial crazy.  They are a part of who I am.

1996 – I was single and pregnant, much to the chagrin of my parents.  I just finished college and didn’t have a decent job.  The baby deserved a better life than what I could provide at that time, so I decided to put the baby up for adoption.  The baby’s birthday?  Wednesday, 27 November 1996, the day before Thanksgiving.

Fast forward to 1997.  My phone rang around 7:30PM on 20 November 1997.  It was my mother telling me that my grandfather passed away from a stroke.  This was quite unexpected.  Grandpa had not been sick and showed no symptoms of any illness.  Ironically, my paternal grandfather passed away this same day back in 1971.

Ten years later, a similar situation.  My mother called me around 11:00AM on Thanksgiving 2007 (22 November).  She stated that EMTs were working on my father.  I threw on a clean pair of jeans and jumped into the car.  Don’t ask me how I made it to the hospital because I don’t know.  All I know is that the usual one hour trip to my parents’ town took half that time.  I walked into the ER and saw my mother in the condolence room.  I knew it wasn’t good news.  She said that Dad didn’t make it.  He passed while I was on the road from a massive heart attack.  And guess who had to call and tell my brother in NYC?  Me.

Thanksgiving should be a joyous time, but for me it isn’t.  It is a time of reflection and healing.  I think this year I will sit back and have a glass or two of chardonnay and celebrate the lives of those that I have lost.  I know Dad would approve.


Finding Humor in Yourself

2010/11/02

What makes people laugh?  This seemingly simple question was unusually difficult for me to answer.  However, it did give me a chance to flashback through my life.  Then the answer hit me like an anvil – I make myself laugh.

People that know me will tell you that I am a bit silly & clumsy.  OK, so I am silly & clumsy.  A few of examples will prove this endearing quality of mine.

Halloween is arguably a child’s second favorite holiday besides Christmas.  Not mine.  At the age of seven, I was trick or treating and tripped down some cement steps.  I felt some slight pain, but I didn’t say anything.  After running around & playing with my cousins for a couple of hours, everyone sat down to eat.  My mother noticed that my right ankle was the size of a grapefruit.  After arguing with Mom (I am also stubborn) for a half hour, I agreed to go to the hospital.  The result: a broken ankle that tore the ligaments.

Fast forward to the age of eight.  I was crawling around playing with my younger brother.  My outstretched leg slammed against the stereo.  This resulted in two broken toes.

The paramount example of my clumsiness occurred a few years ago.  I leaned over to open a door to the bathroom vanity.  I was talented enough to catch the door in an eye socket.  This hurt like you-know-what.  There was no blood and no scratches, so I continued on with my chores.  When I awoke the next morning, my right eye was swollen shut and had more colors than a Sherwin-Williams store.  My co-workers thought I had been beaten.  My mother was not too pleased either.  They couldn’t believe that I really did lean over into a door.

When I think about these incidents, and believe me there are more, I still laugh so hard I cry.  The past year has been quite tough for me.  I have had to find joy in the little things.  This blog post has made me realize that humor lies within myself.  If I can’t laugh at myself, then who can I laugh at?


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