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.


It’s More Than a Really Expensive Piece of Paper

2011/02/07

Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that I love my alma mater - Miami University in Oxford, OH.  All I heard growing up was what a great school Miami is & how it is the most beautiful campus anywhere.  (This “brainwashing” might have something to do with the fact that the majority of my family are Miami alums – 16 total including my mother & #17 is currently a sophomore at MU.)  I can remember being accepted to Kentucky and my mother telling me, “It’s not Miami, so I’m not paying for it.”  After a year at UK, I caved and transferred to Miami.

McCracken Hall

There were some bumps along the way, but I finally got my act together and graduated in December 2006.

I took a job at an electronics distributor a few months after graduation.  Last year, I was laid off  due to the economic conditions.  I was angry at the world.  Even at my beloved Miami.  I looked at my diploma as a really expensive & useless piece of paper.  I have recently changed my tune.

Last night I began to reminisce about my years at MU.  I remembered working 12-20 hours per week for three years, while taking a full class load.  I remembered being deathly ill during Spring 2004.  So ill my DSC professor was concerned.  I remembered the ridicule from a few classmates – and even a professor – because I was not in my 20s like the other students.

Then it occurred to me. My diploma is more than a really expensive piece of paper.  It is a sign; a sign that I survived.  It shows commitment, strength, and courage.  Granted, I do not like the $50,000 student loan debt I have, but I am proud to say that I worked for my education.  It was not handed to me.

My degree from Miami means more to me than people will ever know. Why?  Because I earned it.


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.


Is History Repeating Itself in Dayton?

2011/01/06

Philosopher George Santayana is credited with the statement “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.  History is about to repeat itself here in Dayton, OH, and it may be ugly.

In August 2008, Forbes’ magazine published an article entitled Americas Fastest Dying Cities.  People went nuts.  How could Dayton be included with such cities as Detroit & Youngstown?  (Check out some basic facts here, according to Forbes in 2008.)  Sure, the economy is the main reason, but a basic business class would have also answered this question.

A fundamental rule of business & finance is diversity lessens risk.  Dayton didn’t diversify.  When General Motors (GM) was in its heyday, most of the local businesses fed off of GM – tool & die shops, metal fab places, machine shops, and the like.  The city & county didn’t do much to entice other types of businesses to the area, except for maybe military-related contractors.

When GM spun off Delphi in 1999, I personally believe that was when Dayton began its downward spiral.  The defining moment was when the GM closed Truck & Bus in Moraine.  (For you non-locals, Truck & Bus was the final assembly plant for a few models of SUVs & pick-ups.)  When the last truck rolled of the assembly line on December 23, 2008, many of the supporting business were already closed.

Enter Tech Town.  Some people seem to think technology will be the answer, but it will not be the cure-all to the area’s problems.  Hi-tech businesses look for employees with training in computers/IT, engineering, etc.  These are highly specialized fields that comprise a smaller portion of the employment base.  Therefore, employment will not be greatly affected.

I am not a great economist, and I don’t think technology is bad, but I hate to see officials making the same mistake twice – especially when a portion of the answer is as obvious as this.  Did GM not teach us anything?  With the emphasis on high technology, it appears as if Dayton is putting all of its eggs in one basket again.


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