Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | July 13, 2013

Having a tough time understanding things

I’m not much of a political guy, but I do like to understand things.  So, Paula Deen was stripped of well, everything, but still has the potential of making millions; KTVU in California can practice very poor journalism and get away with just a 20 second apology; and now the Zimmerman trial.   Locally, we may have something similar brewing in the near future that could lead to some kind of racial divide.  I need to take some time to understand this so I can explain things to my kids should they ask.  This is not going to be easy.

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Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | June 26, 2013

Equality…with rhythm

Equality-Drum-2013

 

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | June 18, 2013

Are we really making an impact?

I’ve been working in the helping profession for a number of years in settings ranging from runaway shelters to schools.  I love it.  My current place of employment provides me opportunities to work with youth in an educational setting.  The goals for my target audience are simple, (1) graduate from high school and (2) go to college.  Easy right?  Not really.

Students are still placing into remedial math and writing courses after graduating from high school and the number of students continuing into their second year of college is still very low.  What does that mean?  They are not graduating from college, which leaves the question about their employability down the road.  Furthermore, current high school graduates are finding difficulty funding their education, which (I feel) impacts their world view…which turns their view into a small one.   So in my position, it makes sense to think the solution is about preparing youth for their future is strengthening their math and writing skills, while encouraging them to think in the future tense, in a positive way.  But I may be going down the wrong road.

I recently read an article about the achievement gap, and it had to do with family income, family involvement, and parents’ educational levels.  My mind somewhat imploded shortly after.  The reason I chose to work with youth is to somewhat trace the problem and/or find the source in order to provide the most appropriate support so they can succeed after high school.  But these articles suggest I have to go even deeper; I would have to go into the dynamics of the family.  But as I was thinking about that, I would have to go even deeper and explore the overall politics and economics on how we function as State to find the core issue(s).  Argh!  I had shared my thought with a colleague and I asked him, “so do I run for office?”  That’ll never happen but is that what it takes?  But then you hear a lot about political corruption so I’m not even sure if that is a viable option either.  Anyway, I caught myself staring into nothing today because I was wrapped up with these thoughts trying to figure out my next step.  Then the question came up, “are we making an impact?”

I’m now thinking back to the words of wisdom from my senior colleague –  “don’t give up.”  You hear that all the time but he told me those keys words at the right time.  My response – “no…I won’t give up.”  With that said, I won’t give up.  I just hope I’m making an impact.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | June 1, 2013

Where do I begin?

IMG_2711There has been so much on my mind these past few months that I don’t even know where one thought starts and another ends.  One place to start was Memorial Day and it definitely helped put matters into perspective.  My oldest son took part in a Memorial Day tradition where Boy and Cub Scouts paid their respects by placing American Flags and leis on each tomb stone.  It was a wonderful experience.  My son was fascinated with the dates, the wars in which they served, and the branch they served in.  After soaking in the sacrifices these soldiers made for our country, it got me thinking about my challenges.

Right now, I think I can arrow it down to three things – family, work, and music, although they are all tied together.  Let’s start with work.  I’m realizing that it is possible to mature professionally.  Not that I was conducting myself in an unprofessional manner in any way, but I am now building up the courage to rise above the bureaucracy and focus on what I was hired to do.  This all started when I noticed some of my colleagues where doing things that were more self serving versus serving the people we were hired to help.  There were discussions around how to refer people versus how to help them; and there were purchases where the monies could have gone to the people we were hired to help versus themselves.  I was getting so wound up in the drama that came along with this degree of bureaucracy that I started to become extremely judgmental and participate in this superficial dialogue.  In the process, I’ve isolated myself professionally where my wife provided her insights and said it was “unhealthy.” I get the occasional office grumbling at the water cooler but on a daily basis throughout the day is not good.  In any case, as I reflected on my situation I am realizing that I am playing the victim.  I’m in full control of how I view and handle things – it is tough no doubt – but I have full control.  What do I do now?  I suppose I need to center myself and reconnect to why I chose this profession.  And once that is established, I need try my hardest to preserve integrity.  Rather than ignore the noise, embrace the noise and turn it into music that I can understand then redirect in a positive way.

Which brings me to my music.  I am fortunate to have been a part of very talented and patient set of musicians…and friends.  One my band mates, who is probably one of the strongest persons I know, has been (and is still going through) one of the toughest challenges in his life.  Even though the challenges he was going through could bring down any strong-willed individual – he managed to perform at our show last month.  In fact, I would say most of my band mates have their life’s challenges but have the strengths to pull through and just turn it around – not ignore it but redirect in a positive way.  And that is something I need to do.  Since our show last month, I have not touched my drums and my inspiration is fairly low.  Much like work, I have the power to change my attitude.  I just have to do it.  Anyway, I have so much to learn from my band mates.

In all my challenges, my foundation has always been my family.  It seems no matter what I go through, my family places everything into perspective.  From my sons’ wanting me to pick out the best drawing they did in school to acknowledging my wife with, well, everything.  Kind of like my work, I need to refocus on what really matters.  My colleague asked if I was going for another promotion.  My response – “my family is my promotion.”  I’m not exactly sure how that was received but I really don’t care.  I think my response symbolizes how life should work.  Place priority on things that matter and making sure I take care of those that truly matter.  I suppose it is similar to the soldiers my son visited the other weekend.  They had a strong understanding of priority and delivered it to the best of their ability.  In return, their actions helped and impacted thousands of people.  For me, I need to be the soldier of my family, which I hope will impact what I do at work and how I perform with my band.  We’ll see where this goes.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | April 30, 2013

Reading…the lost art.

I’m not exactly sure if people read anymore.  Ok, that is a bit extreme.  I’m not sure if people read as much as they did before.  Lately my colleagues and I have been shocked with the amount of students that don’t read instructions.  We’re not talking surface stuff like how to open a bag of chips but documents like their admissions acceptance letter and financial aid materials.  So yeah, important things.  Some one actually shared his concerns and suggested that we may be entering a culture of icons.  ICONS!  Has it come to that?  I’m having a difficult time imagining a COLLEGE acceptance letter with only pictures (sorry graphic designers).  Adding to the shock was a recent e-mail I received that suggested that now adults don’t have time to read.  Huh?!?  It was suggested that a memo be summarized and the bulk of the content be presented to them at a meeting.  Really?  What next?  Do we need to act it out so that it is more entertaining?  Sorry for the sarcasm.  

I’m just worried because around 50% of our students place below college level in reading, and my fear is it will translate to future issues in the workforce if it is not immediately addressed.  Can you imagine an ER nurse that can’t read instructions?  “I swear his foot was here somewhere.” 

I remember sitting in an SAT workshop and the presenter basically said, “read”.  He went on to say, “when you have some extra time, read some more, then read again.”  I just wished he did his presentation Power Point style so I can look at pictures.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | April 29, 2013

Really…how am I doing?

A really good friend of mine asked me other day, “how are you?”  The typical response would have been “fine” but I wasn’t quite sure if I was truly “fine”.  Of course, this was all in the context of work, so I really had to think about that question.  My primary job is working with teens, and they bring varying perspectives on life that makes me reflect on my own.  They teach me about patience, resilience, and persistence.  How am I?  I would say at this point – lucky.  I don’t think everyone can say that each day is a learning opportunity.  I do have somewhat a routine.  I open my door, load up my computer, and put my bag down.  But my lessons begins shortly after that.  How does a 17 year old get kicked out a house but managed to pass their exams?  How does a family who can barely pay rent and support their child’s education?  Why are there have and have nots?  In a blink of an eye, the day is done and I return home to be with my kids.  “How am I doing?”  Fine.  Perfectly fine.  But how do I give back?

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | April 2, 2013

Unreal ukulele original

Hawaii Music Supply posted this unreal Youtube clip of Kris Fuchigami from the Big Island – http://youtu.be/i6NEZONuydA

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | March 16, 2013

Practice, practice, practice

I need to practice what I preach to my kids.  Last night the band I’m in performed for the first time in about 4 years.  We all have kids and we try to fit practice in between our very busy schedules.  However, I could have done more at home.  Last night’s gig was really fun but I made a lot of mistakes.  A LOT.  And I can’t stop thinking about it.  I dropped my drum sticks about 3 times, played too fast, and missed the timing on some of the songs.  I don’t know if was nerves, fatigue, or the fact that I didn’t practice enough.  After the second song, my arms started to cramp up and about the middle of the set, my legs started to get tired.  So in addition to practicing, other “should-of’s” are no caffeine before the show, drink more water, eat, and wear shorts.

The upside of the night was that my wife and kids were at the show.  It was great because they never really see me play.  In fact, almost all of the band’s kids were there which made it extra special.  Some of my friends came and brought their kids too.  It was very cool.  The guy who organized the event stuck it out as well.  He is a real trooper.

Well…life is one long lesson plan.

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | February 26, 2013

Quotes that inspire me…

Sometimes the most difficult act of leadership is not fighting the enemy; its telling your friends it is time to change.  Bill Gates

When we live by a comma and a tag line, we consciously or unconsciously embrace values that cause us dissatisfaction.   J. Smith

As the axis shifts towards intellectual labor and services, they urgently need people who are creative, innovative and flexible.  Sir Ken Robinson

Posted by: Dad...Guess What?! | January 6, 2013

Creating My Own BLT

I love BLTs even though I shouldn’t be eating them (my cholesterol isn’t the greatest).  And, it seems easy enough to make but the challenge has always been the crispy bacon.  Luckily, my wife found a way to “bake” bacon that ends up very crispy.

Another thing about me is that I hate to waste.  And I actually enjoy the challenge of creating something with whatever is in the fridge.  So, when I saw left over roma tomatoes, spinach leaves, my favorite Sam Choy’s dressing, bacon and hot dog buns, I thought this was an opportunity to make my own BLT.

First, I cut the roma tomatoes in half and mixed with the spinach leaves.

LT

Then I baked the bacon for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I had some red potatoes so I threw some of that in the oven as well.  I thought it would taste pretty cool if the potatoes were mixed with the bacon fat in the process.  It turned out ok.

B

I mixed in my favorite Sam Choy’s dressing with the tomato and spinach mix right before I assembled the sandwich to avoid soggy spinach leaves.

dressing

I thought the use of hot dog buns would be good because it was the same length as the bacon strips.  And to me, bread is bread.

BLT

Well, there you have it.  My version of the BLT.  It was very easy to make and it tasted pretty good.  I suppose I need to wait a few days before I visit my doctor.  Enjoy!

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