Monday, December 28, 2009

One goal for 2010

One goal I have for 2010 is to get my dad's book published . He put a lot of time into the book so I want to rewrite, edit and maybe even add some details to it. He has a lot of stories to tell and I feel that he has lived a life filled with the full spectrum of setbacks and achievements. I need to do more research on the query process and hunt for a literary agent .

The query letter to a agent or a publisher is a tough process. The query letter should have the hook, the mini synopsis and the writer's biography . Easier said that done! I have faith that the book will be good enough to be picked up by a publisher. I need to channel my Hemmingway and my Kerouac. Wish me luck..

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Taking the kids to the San Antonio Public Library during holiday break

Looking for something to do with the kids during that long holiday break? I know for a lot of us the holiday break means spending time with friends and family. If your kids are like mine I know they can get very restless. When that happens they usually get into trouble. You have already braved the malls for the latest ipod , or that new blue ray dvd player . What to do next? How about taking a break from it all and visiting the San Antonio Public Library .

I am writing this post from the John Igo branch which is located off on 13330 Kyle Seal Parkway and 1604 in Northwest San Antonio. It is one of the San Antonio's newest libraries opened on Dec 8, 2007 . John Igo is a longtime English Professor at San Antonio college.I must admit that the architects with the City of San Antonio were very innovative when it came to designing this library. The structure itself appears to be designed to have all of the latest green innovations around. It is also outfitted with free Wi-Fi . There are two buildings connect by a glass foyer. On the other side of the building are the restrooms and the meeting rooms. Outside, there are a row of tables specifically designed for Wi-Fi or just simply wanting to read outside. There is also a nice trail outside with huge oak trees. (I'm trying to finish this post so the kids can go check out the trail!)

The kids area at this library has plenty of kids books to choose from. There are also computers in this area for kids to log on to. I was going to sit over there with them in that area but the tables are very small. I felt like Andre the Giant (rest in peace) sitting at one of those tables. Kids have full access to the library system as the adults. They can search for their favorite books on the computers and place them on hold. They can also check out the books themselves with the "self check out" computers.

My wife and kids love this library. I must admit that they started coming here before I did. I love watching my kids as they walk in the door . The little ones head straight to the kids section and the computers over there. My older kids head to their sections right away. Bonnie Conner playground is also located next to the library. That was named after a San Antonio City Council woman. My kids love that park too. So if you are looking for a nice little inexpensive getaway I would definitely recommend one of San Antonio's many libraries.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keeping up with my blog during the holidays.

It's been a little tougher than I thought to keep up with my blog. The holidays have not been too kind to my blog. I have been working a lot of hours, which is a good thing. I worked six days in a row last week and also worked on my day off this week. By the time I get home it is 6:30 pm and I don't want to do much. I also need to complete my Christmas shopping too. As of this writing I am still looking for that elusive Barbie beauty salon for my 2nd grader. (I wish I can go back in time and invest in all Barbie stock or Mattel products ). I am also thinking about a trampoline for all of my kids.

In addition to working long hours and the need to finish my Christmas shopping I also need to put on a happy face for Christmas parties and school functions for my kids. Keeping things crazy at work and home is a good thing. I am working and the kids are having fun during the holidays. I feel fortunate that we all have our health and jobs at home. Keeping a crazy lifestyle seems to be the norm.

Looking forward to sharing new thoughts and new ideas in 2010. Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Traveling the Texas Hill Country during the Holidays

I did not realize how much I miss the Texas Hill Country in and around San Antonio. As a kid my parents used to have some property around Wimberly Texas. We had a cabin on this property (It was more of a shack) where we would sleep over. Visiting our property in Wimberly as kids gave us an idea how some of the first Texas settlers used to live off of the land.

When traveling on IH 10 towards Boerne, Comfort and Round Mountain you immediately notice the rolling Texas Hills and the great fall and winter colors. I forgot how fun it is to spend the holidays in the Hill Country . I went with my family to the Comfort Texas holiday parade. I felt like I was on a movie set. Everything seemed so perfect. The way the small town had the streets and the buildings decorated I thought I had stepped on the movie set of "Hope Floats" or something. It also seemed very surreal because everything was so perfect. Everyone seemed to know each other there. Some of the floats were very " Texas." Like the float carrying the high school football team or the float carrying a deer blind with a BBQ pit and the beauty queen. There was also a Christimas tree with beer cans on it. Only in Texas .
I feel a connection to the Texas Hill Country I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it was the fact that we had some property growing up or maybe being born and raised in South Central Texas. There are many holiday activities coming up in the small cities surrounding San Antonio . Try and hit the road this holiday season. There are many family memories just waiting for you and future generations.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saving baby pictures from our old computer

We have a ten year old Dell computer that has been out of commission for awhile. It has been in a closet for a long time. It started giving us trouble so we decided to buy a new desktop a couple of years ago. We took tons of baby pictures of all of my daughters and stored them all on this computer. I think the mistake that me and my wife made is not storing these baby pictures in other places like in a photo album or some picture storing website.

I have all of their births and other major life events stores on this old computer. So I had to retrieve these pictures at all costs. I even left the desktop out on the floor as a reminder of what I needed to do. The computer itself is able to "boot" up so I think that is a good thing. I was told that our old Dell desktop was so old that not even any flash drives were compatible.

I have a friend at work who is a computer tech. He was able to help me retrieve all of the baby pictures that were on my computer. All of the baby pictures of my daughters are so precious I am glad we were able to retrieve them. Hopefully I will have some baby pictures to show all of you guys real soon!

Special thanks to my buddy at work who was able to help me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reflections 2009

We are quickly coming to the end of 2009. I'm sure all bloggers are going to reflect on this past year. I am no different. I think overall 2009 was a good year for my family(as well as my extended family.) I made a promise to myself that I was going to keep this blog current and I think I have done that. I need this blog for personal reasons. One reason I need this blog is to help me wind down from a long day at work. Another reason I need this blog is to occasionally vent about work (I think that is part of the winding down process!)

I cannot forget that I promised myself that I would blog about the "in and outs" of fatherhood. I don't claim to be a expert on this subject but I try really hard to be good at it. I am "knocking on wood" when I say that all of my daughters have been in good health this past year. All of my brothers and sisters are doing well so I am grateful for that. My parent's health situation has been somewhat steady. My dad has had some problems with cataracts but he is aggressively trying to get that corrected with surgery. My mom has had some health concerns with her irregular heart beat. My brothers and sisters (and her doctors) are trying to find the best treatment for her. We are very optimistic when it comes to my parent's health. I pray that 2010 gets their health back on track.

I spent a lot of time reflecting about my job and everything that happened. I survived several rounds of layoffs. I am grateful that I was able to keep my job. A lot of my friends were not as fortunate. I miss a lot of my ex co-workers. I know all of them have rebounded and have new jobs. I hope that we do not have to experience layoffs again.
I think that 2010 will be better for everybody. The economy is heading in the right direction. You and I experienced the worst of times. I am hopeful that we never have to go through that again.
How was your 2009?

Lists to live by

I bought this book today, called "Lists to live by," The Christian Collection, for "everything that really matters. " Here is a section:
Be an Encourager
  • Encouragement is a gift
  • Encouragement creates energy
  • Encouragement lasts a lifetime and can be life-changing
  • Encouragement motivates positive behavior
  • Encouragement is often the most effective form of motivation
  • Encouragement more often comes from listening than talking
  • Encouragement is more effective than criticism
  • Encouragement can be as simple as a smile
  • Encourage everyone you know and everyone you meet

I think we all can use a little encouragement. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Looking forward to Turkey day?

Thanksgiving is around the corner. Time to stuff our faces with turkey, dressing, mash potatoes, veggies , and all the trimmings. The holiday season is upon us. I love Thanksgiving because it is all about giving "thanks" and spending time with all of the family. Usually after Halloween our family starts debating about which house Thanksgiving will be at. It is a fierce debate. My parents have hosted Thanksgiving every year since we were kids. It is time for my parents to sit back and just show up. We will take care of the rest.

Sometimes the Thanksgiving debate between my brothers and sisters is about who is going to bring what dish. I have brought different items throughout the years. (Actually my wife has made different items I just attach my name to it!) Since I have a lot of brothers and sisters there is always a lot of food. Tons of leftovers too. Thanksgiving also means plenty of football including the Dallas Cowboys.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Holiday season. My job is going well. I have been with the same company close to 8 years. My wife and kids have their health. My parents have their health. Al l of my brothers and sisters are doing well. We lost my mother in law recently but she is always with us in spirit 100 % of the time.

I have to make the rounds on Thanksgiving. It is a all day event. Here is my day:

  • Wake up at 9:00 am
  • Watch a bit of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade while getting dressed
  • Help get the kids ready
  • Don't forget the salad or mashed potatoes
  • Go to my family's house
  • Eat
  • Watch the Dallas Cowboys (fall asleep)
  • Leave my family's house
  • Arrive at my wife's family's house
  • Eat again (I'm really stuffed)
  • Drink beer
  • Let my wife drive me home
  • Draw names for Christmas gift exchange
  • Debate on which house will host Christmas lunch/gift exchange
  • Eat leftovers for the next few days.

As you can see I have a busy schedule on this day. I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The need to blog

I think everyone reading this post should have a blog. I have my reasons for blogging. Some posts are very personal and other posts are for fun. I really want to leave a written record for my children. My dad handed me a personal memoir of his life a few years ago. It was a very detailed account of his jobs, his struggles, his personal demons, and what he had to sacrifice to raise all of my brothers and sisters. Just think how much more he could have written if he had a computer to blog on.

My reasons for blogging are simple. I want them to know what kind of father they have. I want them to know what kind of family I came from and that I am not perfect. I am sure that most parents would admit that they are not perfect. But we all try as hard as we can to do our best. Like my father before me I want to provide a written account of my personal thoughts, likes, dislikes, observations, and struggles.

I know my girls will enjoy my posts. Some of my personal favorites so far:

  • Take five minutes
  • A mother's hands
  • A letter to my mother in law
  • A father and a friend
  • Our gift to each other
  • Exhilarating moments
  • Raising daughters
  • Hero's among us
  • Childhood the most beautiful season of all

These are just some of my favorites but I really like all of the posts I have done. Each post has taken some thought and fact finding. So I think that everyone should take a few minutes to start a blog and write down some thoughts. I know some of you have other hobbies like scrap booking or exercising. Your blog will stay on the Internet forever. With just a few clicks of the mouse my kids will be able to open up a treasure that they can hold onto forever. If each of my daughters want to start their own blog then that is something that they can leave for future generations as well. So start blogging!

More posts to come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A father and a friend

A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.-- Author Unknown

I'm hoping that one day all of my daughters will read this post. I know that our family is relatively young and you girls are growing before my eyes. I still remember each one of you as a babies all fat and chubby. I miss holding you girls like little babies and sometimes I wish I can go back there but I know that you all have to grow. Believe it or not I miss the diaper changing, the burping, the feedings. You girls hold a special place in my heart, always.

I want you to know that you can come to me if you need to talk. Any situation, it does not matter, I am always here. I am your father, and a friend. You girls define who I am. I already have some wonderful memories and I know there are more to come . I have learned so much from all of you already. Just by watching you guys I have learned that if I fall someone will always be there to pick me up. I have learned that it is ok to share my emotions whenever I need to, someone will always listen. I have also learned just by watching you guys that life is like a box of crayola crayons. It's ok to color life a bright blue or green or maybe even a purple. Whatever color I feel compelled to use.

I have learned that when you girls chase each other around the house, maybe I can chase life and chase after my own dreams with a little more enthusiasm and gusto. I have also learned it is ok to give and receive hugs whenever I feel like it.
Just talk to me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Humble Oil Station and my Grandfather

I am excited that the Humble Oil Station here in San Antonio won the "This Place Matters" national competition sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This 1930's gas station is located deep in the west side of San Antonio on 1091 S. Laredo st. I am happy that Audrey Zamora- Johnson with the City of San Antonio was able to get the word out on this historic building. I know this building has great meaning to San Antonio and to many families whose relatives used to work there. This building also has meaning to my relatives.

My dad recently told me that my Grandfather used to pump gas there. As a boy my dad said that he used to go visit my Grandfather while he was taking care of his customers. I know my Grandfather had a great work ethic. I know that work ethic has been handed down to my dad and to all of us. My dad is a retired director from CPS Energy and all of my brothers and sisters are professionals in different fields. Everything from law enforcement, banking, insurance and education.

I want to get my young family over there to see where their Great Grandfather used to work at one time. I know it would mean everything to them. I hope to see if restored to its original glory. There are so many historic buildings around San Antonio that I think we should try and save, I hope this is just a stepping stone.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Funny stuff - Toddler property laws

This is funny. I saw it in the Westside Sol newspaper. These toddler property laws are so true. You don't know how many arguments over toys and books I have had to break up in my household.

1. If I like it, it's mine.

2. If it's in my hand, It's mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, It's mine.

5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

6. If I am doing or building some thing, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks like mine, it is mine.

8. If I saw it first, it's mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it's broken, it's yours.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A parent's concern about the H1N1 vaccine

I am a little nervous when it comes to the H1N1 vaccine.The H1N1 vaccine is on the way to a school or doctor's office near you. Supposedly some kids will be getting the vaccine at their school or at their pediatrician's office ( If the doctor signed up to give the vaccine). NISD has had plenty of media coverage in regards to the upcommimg implementation of the vaccine. NISD is trying to get federal help for the implementation of the vaccine. NISD spokesperson Pasqual Gonzalez estimates that it could cost about 1 million dollars to hire the medical personnel needed at each school.

I am concerned because I want to know more about the vaccine . I want to know more about the side effects. I read in yesterday's newspaper that there will be normal side effects as a result of this vaccine. I don't know how the media and for that matter the CDC (Centers for Diesease Control) can down play the side effects of the H1N1 vaccine. We are not talking about a vaccine for the measles or the mumps. We are talking about Swine Flu. In this Good Morning America interview it lists the side effects of the Swine Flu vaccine.

If my kids are going to get the H1N1 vaccine, I want to know as much as I can about it. I have four daughters that will need to get the H1N1 vaccine in the next few weeks. I need to be prepared, I need to look for the signs in the GMA piece mentioned above . I want to know how soon I can expect any side effects of this vaccine.

Am I going to let my kids get the H1N1 vaccine? I still don't know. There are too many questions that us parents need to be concerned about. I don't like the fact that the side effects are being downplayed. My kids have all had the regular flu vaccine but we are talking about more of a serious threat than the regular flu. At this point I am still uncertain. Am I being paranoid? Probably. All of us parents need to be paranoid about something like this. After all, these are our babies.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting ready for the holidays

I can't believe I am writing this post . The holidays are just around the corner. Whenever I think about the holidays I think about presents. I'm I going to have enough money for presents and bills. Even though things seem to be getting better, I think a lot of people are going to be in the same situation this year. I think this holiday season there will be more shoppers looking for deals. (Sorry big department stores. I think your holiday sales numbers are going to be bad once again.)

Don't get me wrong I do love the holiday season. I like the hustle and bustle. I like the holiday cartoons .

I love watching these holiday movies with the kids. I need to start thinking about Christmas lists.

I am already asking myself what kind of budget am I going to have? How much do I allow for my wife? How much do I allow for my kids? What about my parents, nieces and nephews? What we do in my extended family (brothers and sisters) is draw names. Its is a lot easier on the wallet. I only have to buy for one family member.

We also have my wife's extended family. They also draw names for Christmas presents. I think you have to in today's economic environment. Did I mention the Holiday parties? I need to get past Halloween first.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Witnessing a rollover accident

'As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. " ~Zachary Scott

Just witnessed a rollover accident on Ih 10 east. I was about 40 to 50 yards in back of the SUV when all of a sudden I see it lose control. The SUV violently swerved and then rolled two or three times. It rolled into traffic comming to a complete stop. It looked like a woman behind the wheel . I saw her walk away from the accident. The first thing I thought about was my little girl in the backseat of my car. I was able to stop my car in time without getting hit from behind.

I stopped long enough to make sure the woman was ok. Plenty of people stopped to make sure she was ok. My other thought was getting out of the car on a busy highway. No thanks. I stayed in the car. But seeing a rollover accident in person is very scary. The accident happened so slowly. It was very surreal. I am glad the woman had some guardian angels with her.

You know things could have turned out worse. It did not so I am thankful. I always tell myself that life is so short. We need to live like today is going to be our last. Whether we realize it or not, we are only here on earth for a short time. We need to make the most of our time here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Work relocation the sequel

In a previous post I mentioned that I relocated to a different part of the city. Our office is located near Castroville Texas. When we build out in the "hill country" we are actually intruding on wildlife. As a result of building in the "hill country," I am going to see a lot of "roadkill."

Some of the "roadkill" I have seen while driving to work:

Hogs! Roadkill

Also seen: Ringtail Cat-Roadkill

I have also seen a cow outside the fence. Walking alongside the road. Not roadkill. Could be.

Skunks of course -Roadkill

I have also seen coyote and armadillo roadkill while driving to work. I am learning about Texas wildlife while driving to work every morning. I'm wondering what I am going to see tomorrow?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Our gift to each other

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.

-Desmond Tutu


Even though I am on the road, I am thinking about you guys. I want to know what you all are doing right at this moment. I want to give you all lots of hugs. I also want to know if you are behaving for your mother. I hope so! What kept me going while I was away was the fact that I kept busy and was wanting to do a good job. Keeping busy meant that I would not have that much down time. Keeping busy also meant time would go by faster and that meant getting back to you guys that much sooner. I keep mentioning the word "time." For a family man on a business trip I'm not sure time is a good thing. I think time is the enemy because it goes by so slow when I am away. Almost like it does not want me to get back to you all.
As the quote states we did not choose each other we are God's gift to each other. God chose us to be together and I would not have it any other way.

Love Dad

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today. I have seen just about every one of his movies with my family. My family is sad to see him go. I know I am . I hope someday there is a cure for such a horrible disease. I asked my wife and daughters if they would name their favorite Patrick Swayze movies:
  1. Ghost
  2. Dirty Dancing
  3. Roadhouse
  4. Red Dawn
  5. Point Break

I will always remember you as Dalton in Roadhouse.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

In denial about needing bifocals

I realize that I am getting a little bit older. When someone is in their 40's (yours truly), the vision starts to go (the hair also starts to go but that is another blog post!) I have been in denial that I need bifocals. When I was a kid getting bifocals meant your were getting old.

My optometrist says I need bifocals ever since I told him that I have been having trouble reading paperwork up close. When I hold anything close to my face to read it is all blurry. The chart I use on my desk everyday is somewhat blurry. I have to hold it at as far away from my face as possible.

Some people my age are fighting with the condition known as "Presbyopia."According to the Mayo clinic's website, Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes' ability to focus actively on nearby objects — is a not-so-subtle reminder that you've reached middle age. A natural, often annoying part of aging, Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 60. (Yikes!)

You may become aware of Presbyopia when you start holding books and newspapers at arm's length to be able to read them. If you're nearsighted, you might temporarily manage Presbyopia by reading without your glasses. I really struggle at work reading stuff up close. My optometrist wrote a prescription for bifocals but I decided not to get them. It was a combination of being in denial and the clerk at the local Eyemasters really talking me out of them. I was being talked out of bifocals that I really needed? I hope she was not a supervisor! I just opted for my regular prescription without the bifocals.

According to the clerk at Eyemasters the bifocals can really take a period of adjustment. The clerk went on to say that I needed to pick out a frame that would be suitable for the bifocal lens. I was not going to get a frame that made me look like I stepped out of the 1970's TV show. The larger frame was needed to fit the bifocal lens. There is the lens that is divided in half with the bifocal part on the bottom of the lens and there is the "progressive no line bifocal. Right then and there I told the clerk just to give me my regular prescription. My optometrist also gave me a prescription for contact lenses. I wear my contacts almost every day. I know there is such a thing as bifocal contacts but I hear they are expensive. I think my days of wearing contact lenses may be coming to a end . But I need to take care of business today. I have had enough of not being able to read up close.

I went to Target and bought me a pair of Foster Grant reading glasses. I was not sure what "power" of reading glasses to buy. So I just tried different pairs of reading glasses and practiced reading. I was in the contact lens aisle so I practiced reading some of the labels on the contact lens solution boxes that were on the shelf next to the reading glasses. After trying them out everything seems better. I also read the newspaper and even a few books to my daughters.

I don't like getting old. I know I can't fight the inevitable. My next optometrist visit in January I have decided to go through with bifocals. Wish me luck.

P.S If you see me sprawled all over the floor next to some steps you know why. I am probably getting adjusted to my bifocals. Just peel me off the floor and point me to the fountain of youth.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Missing my Johnny Lightning lunch box

One of the fun things I like to do while school supply shopping is to look at the new lunch boxes that are out. My kids buy lunch sometimes. They also like to take their lunch. I am assume they get pretty bored with the lunch menu in the cafeteria. I know I would. Today there are lots of lunch boxes to choose from. There is the Iron Man lunch box , the Spider Man lunch box and the Harry Potter lunch box. I'm sure for every movie that is out there is some kind of lunch box made.

I always took my lunch. I sometimes took my lunch in a brown paper bag. Other times I had my own lunch box. One of my first lunch boxes was a Johnny Lightning lunch box. This was from a line of race cars before Hot Wheels came out. It was so cool. It was a lunch box from the 1970's (I'm giving away my age!) It was metal and when you rubbed the picture on the front of the lunch box you could feel the image of the car. The thermos was even better. The picture of the race car and it's driver was larger than life.

I started researching my first lunch box a few months ago. I thought it would be so neat to have it. I started looking on eBay for one. Every time I started bidding for this lunch box I always got beat out at the last minute. Just to see my lunch box on the internet for the first time brought back so many good memories. My mom used to make my lunch the night before and put it in the refrigerator. That way my lunch was ready to go in the morning. The funny thing is that when I would eat my lunch at school my sandwich would always be soggy. I think after that my mom started making my lunch in the mornings!
My daughters don't know much about lunch boxes from the 1970's. They give me a confused look when I mention the lunch boxes I had. There was a lunch box made for all kinds of TV series like Chips, Charlies Angels, The Banana Splits, The Hair Bear Bunch, The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman.
If you run across a Johnny Lightning lunch box you know where to find me!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getting lost

I have my kids enrolled in religious education classes at our church . Our church is located deep in the Northwest part of San Antonio outside of loop 1604. This whole area is growing at an a alarming rate but that is for a another blog posting. I try to get to mass as often as I can. After a long work week I have to admit that it can be tough waking up on Sundays. I attended religious education classes all through my childhood. I think my religious education upbringing molded me into the man I am today.

Today was the first day for religious education classes at our church. I have my 2nd and 6th graders enrolled. We usually get down with the kids and walk them into their classrooms. We make sure they are settled into their chairs before we leave them . After religious class the kids are escorted to the church. That is where I usually meet up with them. Or so I thought.

I waited for my 2nd grader to be escorted into mass today by her teacher. She did not show. My wife went to go look for her. She looked and looked and could not find my 2nd grader. She looked out in the classroom and back in the church. My wife said that she got lost and ended up sitting with another teacher in church. She was crying, she said that she had become separated from her class. She asked me why I did not look for her. I told her momma was looking for her and that I had to take care of her 4 year old sister and my mom in church. I promised my 2nd grader that would never happen again. I will be waiting for her as soon as she walks out of her classroom next Sunday.

It reminds me of the time I got lost at Hemisfair 68. I vaguely remember it. I think what triggers my memories of the World's Fair in 1968 (Hemisfair) is that I became separated from the pack.

I'm not sure if my family was going to get on the Monorail or if they were heading to the Tower of the Americas. All I know is that I was wondering around at the World's Fair alone. That is until a female security guard picked me up and put me on her motorcycle. I just remember wearing her hat in the security office and seeing my mom and dad walk in to claim me. I know the security guards gave me a lollipop to make me happy. That is probably where I get my love and appreciation of women. Being rescued by a woman in my toddler years at Hemisfair 68 and being surrounded by women today at home and at work.

What can I say women rule my life!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A letter to the Mcallister Park baseball team.

Just wanted to express my thanks for representing San Antonio in the Little League World Series in Williamsport. Your team did a fine job showing how much fun it is to play ball and yet win at the same time. I know that in the end, it was a heartbreaking loss. You have to give credit to Chula Vista California. They came back after a disappointing loss to our team (San Antonio) earlier in the week to finally beating us in the finals.

Watching your team play in the Little League World Series brought back many memories for me. I also played baseball as a kid with the CYO , YMCA and different "Pony Leagues " around the city. I can honestly tell you those were the best times of my life. No worries, just playing baseball. Don't forget about the life long friendships that are made and the awesome concession stands. I'm sure you guys have had the "suicide" soft drink where you mix all of the flavors of soda's together? What about the Frito Pies and the popcorn? Don't forget about the sunflower seeds and the bubble gum.

My baseball teams never made it that far. So you guy need to hold your head up high. Yeah, so you guys had a terrible 1st inning. Just chalk it up to experience and move on. Don't look back. I'm hoping San Antonio has some type of city wide celebration for you guys complete with a river walk parade .You guys deserve it.

P.S I would not be suprised if my daughter and my neice show up at the celebration. It would be impossible to hold them back. They love you guys!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Exhilarating moments

I was reading one of my dad's chapters in his memoirs last night. The chapter was called "Exhilarating Moments." Like my dad I have had the same similar moments . My dad mentions his exhilarating moments. I will post exactly as he has written them:

  1. Seeing my first son born.
  2. Seeing my other children born.
  3. Buying our first house
  4. Coaching my kids.
  5. Taking trips together.
  6. Watching our children grow.
  7. Watching our children do well in school and in college.
  8. When I met my wife has to be the greatest thing that has happened in my life.

I have also had similar exhilarating moments in my life. Mine are listed below:

  1. Marrying my wife Veronica.
  2. Seeing Monica born .
  3. Seeing Mia born.
  4. Seeing Sofie born.
  5. Buying our first house
  6. Watching my young daughters do well in school. Two in elementary school now.
  7. Have not done much traveling with the family but I am hopeful.

More exhilarating moments to come.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Self improving

"Perfection is what you're striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility . Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts. "

- John Wooden

I ran across this article today and I felt like I had to write something about it. I am a big fan of John Wooden and his UCLA dynasty. In the 1960's and 70's he won 10 NCAA men's basketball titles before he retired in 1975. Coach Wooden had some talented people on his teams including Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Lew Alcindor), Gail Goodrich, Sidney Wicks, and Henry Bibby to name a few.

I find myself striving for perfection at work but it is not always possible. I really agree with the second part of his quote, "Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts." I find myself doing the best I can with what I am given. I have a lot to do on any given day. I find that organization is a big part of it.

Working at a bank consists of very detailed work. I am always on the phone with clients and I am always out in the field visiting with them. Being detail oriented is a must in the banking industry. I am always trying to get the best deal I can for my client. I am always following up on my work. I think we all make mistakes at work. That is what makes us human. I am always trying to find areas I can improve. I strive for perfection but getting there is not always possible. But I do take advantage of all the tools given to me.

My territory that I am assigned to has one of the top field representatives in the company. I am very fortunate to have her. We have been partners for several years now so we take advantage of each others strengths . Without each other the territory would not be where it is today. My clients respect her and trust her. We find ways to make the territory better. We focus our energies on clients that need a little help getting back where they need to be. If I need help with something I call her . When she needs help with something she calls me. We squabble sometimes like any other partnership, but our aim is the same, to serve our customer. Self improving is also our number one goal.

Back to the original question. Am I doing the best with the conditions I am given? Yes. It is possible to strive to perfection. Coach Wooden did the best with what he had and he won several championships (It does not hurt having Lew Alcindor on your team either!) You and I our not perfect. But we can have fun trying to get there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New school year thoughts

It's finally here. The new school year. We finished up our school supply shopping and the kids are eager for the new school year to start. The kids have their backpacks ready with their school supplies inside. I thinks it's going to be a good school year. I know when I was a kid going to school I could not sleep the night before the new school year. I was excited. I'm not quite sure why we are putting the kids to sleep early tonight. I know they will be lying wide awake in their beds.

I know my kids will be excited tonight. I expect it to be a long night for them. I don't blame them, new friends and new teachers. It could be nerves too. I don't expect them to eat any dinner tonight. All the arrangements have been made in regards to after school care. The kids will be eating lunch at school and occasionally packing a lunch.

I am excited about my daughter taking the school bus to middle school for the first time. I am a little nervous about that but I know she is mature enough to take on that responsibility. She has her cell phone with her at all times so I feel good about her riding the bus. She also has friends that will be riding with her too.

I know I will be making visits to school during the year. I know I will have to be picking up the occasional sick child or taking forgotten items to school. I know I will be taking field trips this year. I am going to be sad not having them during the day. I know we will be excited to see each other after school.

So here is to all the parents that are going through all the back to school jitters. I just know that the coffee better be ready tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A apology letter to my daughters: I am about to tie up the TV with NFL football

Dear daughters and wife,

I am about to tie up the main TV for a few months with NFL football. As you know I like watching all teams especially the Dallas Cowboys. You probably are wondering why I follow the Dallas Cowboys after they have let me down the last couple of years? Like any Cowboy fan I hope that each year will be the year they get past the first round of the playoffs. As you are aware there will be no Jessica Simpson or Terrell Owens shenanigans, so I know the team will be trying their best.

I am apologizing in advance that we will not be watching the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and ABC Family. We will have to do without the Wizards of Waverly Place, High School Musical, Degrassi, Ruby and the Rockets, Jonas, Hannah Montana. The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, Sonny with a Chance and Phineas and Ferb. You had a good run on the main TV this summer. Now it is my turn.

Maybe you can all become fans of the game? There is some exciting things to watch this year in the NFL with Brent Favre going to the Vikings and Terrell Owens going to Buffalo. Even Michael Vick going to the Eagles (you guys know about him.) So there is some stuff brewing this year in the NFL as you can see. I will explain whatever you need to know about the game . I will explain what routes the receivers are running. I will teach you about the blitz and how to listen for an audible from a quarterback. I will also explain why the referee throws that yellow handkerchief on the field.

So the good thing girls is that we will have the refrigerator stocked with drinks, chips, wings, and other goodies for our football viewing pleasure. So daughters I hope you will come and join me every Sunday, Monday and Thursday night for some NFL football. Who knows maybe one day we will make it to a Dallas Cowboys game at their new billion dollar stadium. Let me save up first!

P.S- Careful Brent Favre I read this morning that the Packers want some shots at you ( girls I will explain the injury he gets at that time!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do you know this face?

I first met Danny Trejo, the actor, a couple of years ago at a family get together here in San Antonio. Danny has been in countless movies some of which you might be familiar with. He has an impressive list of movies. I will attempt to list some of them. I don't have the room to list them all. These are not in any kind of order:

  1. Heat

  2. Con Air

  3. Desperado

  4. Dusk till dawn

  5. Bubble Boy

  6. Spy kids movies

  7. Grindhouse

  8. The Devils rejects

  9. Reindeer Games

  10. Anaconda

At this family get together he was very nice . He was sitting at the table and answered all the family's questions about Hollywood. I was able to get a few questions in about Con Air and what it was like to work with John Cusak. He also loved meeting my kids and even posed for a picture with me and all of my daughters. And yes he has those tattoos.

Danny Trejo is related to my wife's family. I have met him a couple of times now. I read where he is currently filming the Robert Rodriguez movie Machete in Austin with Robert De Niro , Lindsey Lohan and reports are that Jonah Hill will be cast.

Slice them up good Danny!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A little bit about Cameron Crowe

I'm not sure if any of the younger kids know who Cameron Crowe is. I am a big fan of Cameron Crowe. He is a Hollywood writer and director. I bet you did not know that he is the youngest writer ever to be employed by Rolling Stone Magazine. He had his first article published when he was 16 years old. As a young Rolling Stone writer he went on tour with the Allman Brothers band. At a very young age he landed some major interviews from Led Zeppelin to the Eagles.

I bet you did not know about some of his movies that he has written and directed. These are some of my favorites:

  1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High- This was actually a book based on Cameron Crowe's life experience going undercover as a high school senior and writing about it in this book. This movie launched the careers of Sean Penn,Phoebee Cates, Forrest Whitaker, Eric Stoltz and Judge Reinhold.

  2. Say Anything- This is a classic movie starring John Cusak and Ione Skye. This is a love story about a kick boxer, Lloyd Dobbler (Cusak) and his love for Diane Court (Ione Skye) the over achiever. The subplot revolves around Diane Court's father and his embezzlement of a retirement home.

  3. Jerry Maguire- This is a movie about a high powered sports agent (Tom Cruise) who is fired after having a moment of clarity in which he writes and distributes a Mission Statement calling for more service to the athletes and less money for themselves. He strikes out to form his own agency. Also starring Cuba Gooding.

  4. Almost Famous- This a autobiographical about the experiences of a teenage music journalist who goes on the road with an emerging band in the early 1970s.

  5. Vanilla Sky-a remake of the Spanish thriller Abre los ojos. Starring Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz.
I am very envious of the career that he has had. He was employed by Rolling Stone Magazine during the formative years and has written and directed some of the most memorable movies of all time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The art of collaborating at work

"All your strength is in union, all your danger is in discord" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In any company there are always challenges. Within a company there are different departments and divisions. Everyone is paid differently. Some employees are hourly, some employees are on salary. Depending on your job description and your level of experience determines your pay. With that said, the challenges of any company always need to be addressed and everyone needs to be on the same page to tackle these challenges.

These challenges require teamwork. The quality that is needed the most between employees and departments amid great pressures and challenges is collaboration. In John Maxwell's "The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player,"(Nelson Publishers 2002) Maxwell mentions that becoming a collaborative team player requires a change in focus in four areas:

  1. Perception: See teammates as collaborators, not competitors- If you look at any team you can see the potential for competition. To collaborative team members, completing one another is more important that competing with one another. Everybody is perceived as a unit working together.

  2. Attitude: Be supportive, not suspicious of teammates- People are preoccupied with looking out for their own interests that they are naturally suspicious of just about everyone including their own teammates. Adapt the mind-set where you complete rather than compete.

  3. Focus: Concentrate on the team, not yourself-Where you focus your attention says a lot about whether you compete with others or complete them. "True progress in any field is a relay race and not a single event."

  4. Results: Create victories through multiplication-When you work together with your teammates you can do remarkable things.If you work alone you leave a lot of victories on the table. Collaboration has a multiplying effect on everything you do because it releases and harness your skills but also those skills of everyone on the team.

So the question remains, Are you a collaborative team player? If so, you carry these traits.

  1. You think win-win-win- When you collaborate with others you win, they win and the team wins.

  2. Complement others-Get with someone who has strengths in your area of weakness and vice versa.

  3. Take yourself out of the picture-Get into the habit of what is best for the team.

I think Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's quote " All your strength is in union, all of your danger is in discord," says that we all need to work together for the common good of the company otherwise everything will fall apart.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The importance of reading books as a family

My wife loves to read books. She has read several books since we have been married. She has read all the Harry Potter, Twilight, and True Blood books. She has read countless vampire ,wizard and romance book available. She is setting a good example for all of my daughters. I'm not talking about the subject matter because I really don't care about the vampires or wizards. She is setting a example by her love of reading.

I think it is great that we read as a family. I like to read different books too. I read more business and motivational books. Me and my wife try to read a book to our kids every night before bedtime. We take them to the library once a week to check out books. My kids love hanging out at the library.

I know with the summer months reading is the last thing that the kids are interested in. Kids are more interested in swimming and other things. I know families are getting away from reading. Parents need to make their kids read and turn off the television. Kids can get stuck watching television all day if you let them.

According to Jim Trelease author of the New York Times best seller , The read aloud handbook, he lists 10 facts that parents should know about reading:

  1. Reading is the most important subject in school.

  2. Across the world, children that read the most read the best.

  3. Humans are pleasure seekers. We do things over and over again if we like it. So if you want your kids to read more often, make sure they love it more than they hate it. Keep reading .

  4. Read aloud to them even as infants.

  5. Listening comprehension comes before reading comprehension.

  6. Children usually read on one level and listen on a higher level.

  7. Research shows that children who come from homes with the most print-books, magazines and newspapers have the highest reading scores.

  8. There is a strong connection between over viewing of television by children and under- achieving of school.

  9. Have kids watch closed captioning television.

  10. Have kids listen to audio books.

I think I have the writing part covered for my kids. I am working with my younger kids on basic writing skills . A journal is the best place to start for young kids. I have encouraged my older ones to start a blog, They don't have to go public with it. They can keep it a private blog. Math I don't mess with I leave that to my wife!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting the kids ready for back to school

School is around the corner. The summer vacations are just about over. Let the fun begin. The necessary back to school shots have been taken care of at the doctors offices. If you are like most parents you have been searching for the cheapest school supplies around. Don't bother looking for unnecessary school supplies. My wife just buys the necessary items on the back to school list. No more, no less.

Most parents are trying to get the back to school clothes too. Looking for the elusive back to school sales. With tax free weekend comming up the stores are sure to be jam packed. I have not figured out if I like the tax free weekends. I like the savings but I don't like the crowds. (So don't look for me there!)

There is also the lunch situation. Are my kids taking lunch or are they buying lunch? I am not sure what to think about the cafeteria. You keep putting money into their lunch accounts and they go through those accounts so fast.
There is also the after school situation. Are they going to day care or are they going to be parent pickup?If they are parent pickup it is better to park your car and get down and wait. You could be sitting in the car quite awhile if you decide to wait in the car for your kids. If they are after school care , can you make it before 6:30 pm to pick them up?
There is also the issue of sending kids with additional money for spirit t-shirts, PTA and field trips. Let's not forget about money for the constant barrage of Scholastic books and book fairs.
Here we go again!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Coffee anyone?

I am now realizing the importance of coffee in my life. I would have to say that within the last 5 years my love of coffee has really taken off. I usually have my wife set the timer on the coffee pot about 7am every morning. Usually the aroma of the coffee makes its way up the the staircase to the master bedroom where it reaches my nose. Ah, the smell of fresh roasted coffee!

I have a cool coffee travel mug that I take with me every morning. It is the right size. Not too big not to little. I don't drink it black. I'm not that brave. I usually have some type of coffee creamer in it. My wife also has a travel coffee mug. We have all kinds of travel coffee mugs. I also have coffee at work. I know some companies are cutting back with expenses and sometimes coffee does not survive the budget cut.

It's funny that that once we reach a certain age a bell goes off in our head. Once that bell goes off ,all of a sudden we like coffee! Coffee is universal. Coffee can be found all over the planet. Coffee goes well with meetings. Coffee goes well in the classroom. Coffee goes well with breakfast , lunch and desert. Coffee goes well in the car. I was wondering are there any health benefits to coffee? I wonder sometimes if we know for sure. We hear that sometimes there are health benefits. We hear that sometimes there are risks involved with coffee. It is like nobody can decide. So I decided I to find out some answers.

There are several websites that state the following:
  • Coffee may prevent and treat Alzheimer's
  • Coffee may help with diabetes
  • Coffee may help with skin cancer
  • Coffee helps people with Hepatitis C

I will try and remember these things when I am drinking my next cup of coffee. Whatever the case may be, not only does coffee smell wonderful, there are also health benefits. I hope I never run across a article or website that states coffee is now bad for you. I cannot do without my coffee.

Shameless plug: I love McDonald's coffee.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Facebook comes in handy for large families (like mine)

I have a large family. I come from a family of six boys(including me) and three girls. We all have busy lives. We all work, we all have kids that are active. There are a lot of ways to communicate these days. You can pick up the landline. You can use your cell phone. You can text. You can send an email. You can instant message.You can also Facebook.

I have a basic Palm phone. It came with the Facebook application in it already. All of my brothers and sisters have some type of phone that gets Facebook. I find it easy to talk to them anytime of the day. They can send me a message through Facebook, they can chat with me. I can also write on their wall and they can comment later.

I also find it useful when it comes to business clients or contacting my field rep. It is good because business clients can get a glimpse into my family life. It can be as basic or personal as someone wants it to be. I know that my Facebook is personal. At my age I don't have anything to hide. It has some pictures of my family. It also has pictures of my large extended family.

Facebook has some fun applications too. You can send one of your Facebook friends a drink, you can join Mafia wars with them, you can take tons of quizzes. I took a Star Trek quiz which was quite entertaining.

How old does one person have to be to have a Facebook account? I don't know. I know my sixth grader has asked me for one. I think she is a bit too young for Facebook. I would not be surprised if my mom and dad ask me to start a Facebook account for them.

I will see you guys. I am going to Facebook now.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

“Childhood is the most beautiful of all seasons.”Author Unknown

I miss my childhood. I believe I had a normal childhood. Growing up in a family of nine, how normal can that be? I am one of six brothers and three sisters. Growing up in the late 1960’s and the 1970’s, things were really simple back then. We all played sports. I played baseball and basketball. I really did not have a brother close to my age. I was either too young or too old to hang out with anyone that is with the exception of my sister Rosie.

We were close in age. We were in the middle of the pack. We did everything together. She was my partner in crime. While my big brothers were out conquering the football fields me and my sister Rosie were up to no good. I guess you could say we were both the middle children. Poor thing, she was usually at the end of my practical jokes gone awry. I remember one summer when I accidentally set her hair on fire. I am not sure why or how that happened. I was not playing with matches like every other kid out there. I think what happened is that I did the evil brother thing and threw a “black cat” firecracker at her and somehow it magically ended up near her head thus causing her hair to catch fire. Too see her eyes’ tearing up was heartbreaking even as a mean kid. Our mom rapidly put the fire out.

I remember another incident we actually teamed up to set an empty lot next to our house on fire. I am not sure if it was due to fireworks or not. This one I believe can be attributed to matches. To see that empty lot next door in flames was a sight to see even for a little boy. I remember running to my room and hiding from the world at that point. I think what I was really doing was hiding from the sounds of the fire department. That was scary enough. Something even scarier as a kid is waiting for your dad to get home after you have done something drastically wrong. Just the anticipation of waiting for your dad to get home and give you the worst spanking on the planet was enough for a kid to sign up in the witness protection program. My sister Rosie was just as scared hiding under the blanket in her room.

For some odd reason I used to like to throw rocks as a kid. Find me one kid who does not like to throw a good rock. I stumbled across the best rock in the neighborhood one day. I threw it at a neighbor who was sitting on top of his mother’s station wagon. Sure enough the back window splattered into a million pieces.

That was over thirty years ago. To this day me and my sister are still close. She is not married and does not have any children but she still treats my children as her own. She still comes over for dinner and helps to pick up my kids from school. My kids occasionally play jokes on her and we both smile at each other. I think we talk almost every day. We give each other advice on different subjects from money to relationships. Occasionally we get that gleam in each other’s eyes. That gleam that means someone is going to get a prank pulled on them.
I am going to hide the matches from my kids as far up in the kitchen cabinets as I can.

Immigration building a bridge to a family's future

In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.-Alex Haley

I wanted to thanks my great grandparents for crossing the border into Laredo Texas in 1906. I know it was not easy leaving everything behind in central Mexico.They were looking for a better life here in the United States. What they did on that hot day in 1906 had a ripple effect in time that could have never been imagined. Little did my great grandfather know how powerful his walk across the border would be. My grandparent's were carried over the border as babies by their parents.

My grandparent's were very hard workers. They had a great work ethic.My grandfather was a route salesman delivering sweet bread or "pan dulce" for a local Mexican bakery. My grandmother used to shell pecans. She also worked as a maid and picked cotton with my dad, who as a boy at the time. Nothing was handed to them. Their house was located in the barrio of San Antonio. They rented the house of course. My grandmother made all the necessary repairs to the house. While my grandfather worked she would upholster the furniture, fix sinks and toilets and paint the house.

My dad was also a hard worker. He was dedicated to his family. He did everything from a produce street salesman, to a steel worker. From a parking garage attendant to a bus driver. He finished his work career as a director of building operations for the local utility company. My mother worked a for the phone company for a bit. She became a stay at home mom. I was one of nine kids. Nothing was handed to us either. We were poor growing up but as kids we don't know what social class we belong to. We did not know if we were rich or poor.

I know it would not be easy for my great grandparents to cross into Texas today. It would be very difficult. The United States border patrol is extremely active. They are are high tech with surveillance cameras everywhere. The Texas Governor Rick Perry has committed 1,000 troops and 135 million for border security. This will help curb the drug cartels from spilling into Texas. This will also be done with the help of aerial drones, high tech cameras and the controversial border fence. I know that the U.S does trading with Mexico and Canada with the North American Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA). This has been good for all three countries.

I am sure that if my great grandparents or grandparents were alive today, they would see the end result of their sweat, strain and hardships. They would see that all of my brother's and sisters are professionals here in Texas. We are all operating nine different households. We have a lot of professions covered. We are bankers, policemen, teachers, and insurance adjusters. By the time we all retire , we would have contributed millions of dollars in taxes. We exercise our right to vote. With the economy things have not been easy for my brothers and sisters but we are surviving.

I am the end result of that border crossing in 1906. My brothers and sisters and all of our families are the rewards. I hope that I am making my great grandparents and grandparents proud.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Closing of my elementary school

I heard on this news this past week that my elementary school is targeted to be shut down. I am saddened by this news. I attended Mary F. Huppertz located on the westside of San Antonio. I know from experience that if a school is targeted to be shut down, there is nothing that can be done. It is a victim of the numbers game. I fought hard to keep my daughter's pre-school Holy Rosary Catholic school open. That school was located next to St. Mary's University where I attended college.

I fought the good fight. I wrote articles why the school should be kept open. I was interviewed by the St. Mary's University Rattler newspaper. I met with the principle. I was fighting to keep the school open for my babies. I had seen the results in my older kids. I had planned on sending all of my kids to pre-school there. The school closed a few years ago. Now my elementary school is next!

As seen in the media reports the San Antonio Independent school district is not immune to the economic problems facing all Americans. The school district is trying to consolidate some schools and close others. The problem is that a lot of inner city schools are being forgotten about. Young families are moving out of the inner city and into the suburbs. The population of the inner city is becoming a population of senior citizens. There is no growth . All of the growth is outside of loop 1604. They inner city therefore becomes forgotten.

I am sad to see Huppertz closing. I still remember the principle Mrs. Anderson. I remember my P.E Coach Mr. Brown. I have fond memories of my 1st and 2nd grade teachers Mrs.Neely and Mrs. Passmore. I remember my 3rd grade teacher Mrs.Hill (My ears still hurt from my ears getting pulled. Was that legal?) I was in choir with Mrs Moczygamba. I remember the playground and the cafeteria. I lived close enough that I was able to walk home after school.

All of these teachers had a chance to mold me into the person that I am today. I will always carry the memories of this school with me forever.

I miss my lunchbox!

Do kids know the value of hard work?

My dad gave me a book a couple of years ago for Christmas. When I unwrapped it I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was his memoirs. In one of his chapters he discusses how his mother used to take him as a boy to the cotton fields of South Texas. There my dad and his mother picked rows and rows of cotton. They would get picked up each morning and ride in the back of a pick up truck and then get dropped off at their destination.

Picking cotton was back-breaking work according to my dad. He would have to carry around a bag of cotton that almost weighed as much as him. It really got me thinking how spoiled some of us are. I feel guilty working in an air conditioned office. I have been working in and out of different offices for the past 15 years. I often work bell to bell. That is nothing compared to doing hard labor in the hot South Texas cotton fields. I know a lot of Americans work outdoors as laborers. It also got me thinking about how some kids don't know the value of hard work. How some kids expect everything to be handed to them.

Do the kids of today know the value of hard work? I'm not sure. I know if my kids want something they have to earn it. My kids can earn money by bringing home good grades and by also helping around the house. We have been very fortunate, my kids have been bringing home good grades every grading period. They earn a allowance from getting good grades. It is enough to get the things that they need.

There are several things that we can do to teach our kids a good work ethic. According to the website Xomba there are 7 tips for teaching a good work ethic:

  1. Homework- Since homework is a daily task, strive to have your child complete all of it, including the studying (which for some unknown reason, kids nowadays do not consider as "homework"). Explain that finishing the work completely in a reasonable amount of time leaves them free to pursue other interests.
  2. Give them reasonable chores- As soon as your child is able, let them participate. Most kids love to clean. More than anything, they love to please their parents. Let your children feel this sense of accomplishment and participation on a regular basis.
  3. Take your child to your own work.-Parents have to work. Try taking your child to your own work. Explain that you have to report there during certain hours and exactly what you do each day. Not only does this let your child know were you spend your days, it also brings a better appreciation for the hard work of parents. This is a great time to explain that work is a part of every day, just like eating, sleeping and playing.
  4. Praise successes.-Nothing keeps a child coming back for more than praise from Mom and Dad. Thank-you for a job well-done and big hugs for hard work are the key to encouraging your child to continue trying to please you. Praise builds up their self-esteem and encourages them to continue striving to do their best.
  5. Fair share-Make sure you provide a reasonable amount of tasks in relation to other family members, especially other children. The lesson from regular tasks is not to build resentment. It's to encourage your child to complete a task from start to finish.
  6. Routine-You might feel varying the weekly or monthly routine of tasks for your child is great. But check with your child first. Some kids just don't care for change very much. Kids like familiarity and it helps them to know exactly what parents expect from them.
  7. Have your child choose his work- Including a child in planning and doling out the family chores helps build their sense of responsibility. The get to have an active role in the home. This empowers them to look more positively at their own tasks and strive to complete them well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Special thanks to all of you!

Just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day to read my posts. With a blog it it gives you the liberty to write about anything. With a blog you will find your own voice and style. The reader will see who you are. You can see who I am with mine. I am in charge. I don't have to answer to anyone. I guess I do have to answer to my wife when she says to shut down the computer and get to bed.

Thanks to all of my daughters for providing the inspiration for some of my posts. I also need to thank my brothers, sisters and parents. With a huge extended family there are stories galore to write about. I encourage everyone to start a blog. We all have a story to tell. I'm sure some of you guys have more to say than I do. If you start a blog it just needs to stay current. Once or twice a week is fine. I just like to unwind after work and just type away.

Once you start a blog and become really dedicated, it is addicting. Of course you should not forget about your family and just keep to your blogs. I usually give myself about 30-45 minutes once the kids are asleep. This way I give my daughters my full attention when I get home from work. I then turn off the computer and give my wife attention (behave!).

I hope to cover more issues that will keep you guys interested. If you create a blog, let me know I would love to follow yours.

I'm a big fan of Calvin and Hobbs (Special thanks to Bill Watterson)

Till next time

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where is my flying car?

I have always been a big fan of Science Fiction. I watch everything from Star Trek to Star Wars. From Stargate Atlantis to Battlestar Galactica. If there has ever been a Science Fiction movie ever made, I have seen it. I am just fascinated by technology. I was about five years old when we first went to the moon. I used to have a toy lunar lander that my parents bought me. Ever since then I have been fascinated with space travel and NASA.

I know that back in the 60's I saw TV shows about flying cars , robots, ray guns. Where is all of this technology that was promised to us? I am not even sure if the jetpack has been perfected.

According to in the article 'The top 10 inventions needed" by Mary Bellis I am in agreement with her on all of the inventions she mentions. Some of the things I think we need now are the following:

1.Transporter- San Antonio traffic. Need I say more?
2.Replicator- We could order any food item or drink that we want. I would probably ask for the Chris Madrid Chedder Cheesy burger.(San Antonio burger joint)
3.Flying car- If I must drive in San Antonio I want to be able to bypass all of the tailgaters and broken stoplights.
4.Fountain of Youth - I'm not sure if I would want a drink from this. I know I would want to stay young. I'm not sure what age I would want to stay. Do I want to be a kid or do I want to stay my current age? Do I want to be the same age as my kids? Do I want my kids to drink from this? I would need more information.
5.Time Machine- I would love to go back in time and visit some events or people in history.
I think there might be a version of some type of flying car already. Probably very pricey. Oh well , maybe my kids or grandchildren might be able to try one of these inventions when I am gone. Sigh!
Read more from the Mary Bellis article

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Caught in the middle

My job was saved last December. My company went through some massive downsizing. The ironic thing is that I find myself stretching every dollar as far and wide as I can. I survived about three rounds of layoffs. I am grateful for that. What happened is that in different industries anyone who survived job layoffs took a big cut in pay to stay on. You hear and read about it everyday on all the media outlets.

I was talking to my wife about this tonight. We are one of those American families who are caught in the middle. We are breaking even. We don't qualify for any financial assistance because we make too much. Gone are the days of the disposable income. So we are caught in the middle inside today's America. Too rich to be poor. Yet too poor to be rich. Sounds like a country western song.

About a year ago things were very comfortable. Living the life of luxury I'm sure like many of you did before all the bailouts started to occur. Right now I worry if my kids are getting enough to eat. I worry if I have enough food in the refrigerator. I worry if I have enough food in the pantry. I work hard. I am a good employee. My wife works hard. We do without a lot of things. I do without a lot of things.

My kids have had to do without a lot of things that other kids might have. They have always had hand me down clothes since I have a lot of nieces. There is nothing wrong with that. This summer we found a cheap volleyball camp for my daughter that was a month long. She was happy about that. What hurts is that you see some of these backyards that have not only a large trampoline but they also have a nice looking wooden swing set. I wonder how some of these people afford this stuff. My little ones ask me when they can have one of those. I don't have an answer for them. My little ones ask me when we can go on vacation. I don't have an answer for them.

Daddy does not know when he will be able to afford a lot of things. I just hope and pray that we have no major mechanical problems with one of the cars or a major a medical expense. People caught in the middle are just breaking even. People talk about how different generations are supposed to be doing better than the generation before them. I don't believe this is the case with a lot of families. These are different times.

A job is suppose to give us a safety net. A job is suppose to give us comfort. A job is supposed to give us hope. I wonder how a lot of families like us caught in the middle are supposed to send their kids to college. I have no idea.

What is sad is that my older daughter realizes that we cannot do a lot of things that her cousins do. Like the trooper that she is she helps us by explaining to my little ones that they have to sit tight. She tells them to hold on. She is right. I expect things to rebound. We cannot put them in YMCA or in different camps. That is not possible. We are rich when it comes to giving them plenty of love. We are a close family. We are fortunate that everyone is in the A-B honor roll. We agree that an education is important. Maybe they can get a scholarship and keep pursing their education like their parents.

We are blessed in so many ways. The girls love their parents. They are smart. They listen. The little ones don't necessarily know the difference about being rich or poor. My heart breaks for my older daughters who know this has to do with the economy. I think my faith and my prayers keep me going. For some reason someone up above has always watched over my family. One day I will give my kids that trip to Disneyland that they so deserve. I will give them that trampoline and swing set that they deserve. I will give my wife that trip to Vegas or to Mexico that she so deserves. I am determined.

Are you caught in the middle?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Missing you 1980's video games!

I am missing my 1980's video games. There were some real fun video games back then. We used to go out for lunch my Senior year in high school. We would go to the local mall and play video games for lunch. So what if we went hungry the rest of the day. We were having fun. Some real cool video games debuted in the 1980's.

Some of the cool video games from the 1980's I remember playing quite a bit are as follows:

1.Moon Patrol -What was the goal here? You and a buddy cruise around in a moon vehicle and look for trouble?
2.Time Pilot - One of my personal favorites from the 1980's. You are a fighter pilot going against different planes and jets from various decades.
3.Galaga- You command a spaceship and you avoid aliens taking shots at you. The challenging stages are real fun.
4.Donkey Kong- Need I say more?
5.Missile Command- There was no joystick. Just a ball that was hard to control.
6.Tempest- This game had a cool knob that you twist. You are shooting at enemies at a distance and try to get them before they get you.
7.Defender -Space game. Aliens vs you.
8.Star Wars- The original game.
9.Super Breakout - Too cool.
10.Paperboy- You ride a bike and deliver the paper. You try and hit targets including people.
There are too many to mention. Oh well. I can keep reminding myself of how fun these games were. I wouldn't mind have my own personal Tempest machine!