Monday, November 28, 2005

November 28, 2005

Where to begin? I’ve procrastinated this entry, and a lot has happened, so I have to “work” on thanksgiving.

About two years ago, I went through a small pre-mid-life crisis. I felt like I had lost some of those things that defined me as a person. I was working at Novell, buying my cloths at the Gap, and hadn’t been doing hobbies that I loved doing - ie snowboarding, skating, rock climbing, ect. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but I felt I was loosing part of the person I had once been, and becoming someone that I didn’t wanted to be. I felt that I looked, talked, and acted like everyone else I came in contact with. Whether it was true or not it was difficult for me. So, what was my solution? I bought a skateboard. After my purchase, I found an empty parking lot and started to relive days long past. About fifteen minutes into it, I attempted to perform an “ollie to curb grind” (popping the board in the air landing on a parking curb, and sliding the trucks / axles of the skateboard on the concrete surface). Well I didn’t have enough speed to slide, and my trucks planted firmly on the curb, while the momentum propelled my overweight body forward. I planted my forward foot, twisted my knee, hit the ground, and rolled twice. Bruised, battered, and humiliated I got back in the car and went home. When I told Hannah about the experience, she said “well at leased that’s out of your system.” We both laughed and thought it was pretty funny.

Shortly after moving to Colorado, I was placed in the Cub Scout program. One of the other leaders, Travis, is my age, and still skates. He’s a surfer from San Diego, and still try’s to keep up with all the board sports (skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding). Anyway, he told me that we should go to a skate park that’s close by. Wanting to go, but feeling a little apprehensive, I agreed on the condition that we go early in the morning on a school day so no one would see the 32 year old bald guy flailing around. On the selected date, Travis who is in real estate, had to cancel because of an appointment, so my friend Tim and I went alone. When we arrived there was only one other kid there. He was about sixteen (skipping school) and quite good. I swallowed my ego, and attempted the terrain. It was slow going, but I finally started to get my balance back, and ended up having a great time. The pictures aren’t’ very good, because the timing is off, but at lease you can see what the park looks like. I’ve been back once since then, and look forward to many more trips.

Last week I took my first work trip to Nebraska. I set up three appointments with smaller hospitals, and ended up visiting three more. The visits were really fun. I even enjoyed the driving. I did about six hundred miles in two days. As I write it down it doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider that I was doing visits through out the whole thing it made for long days. When I arrived in North Platte I had about 45 minutes before my next appointment, so I drove to nearest “hill” and snapped a few shots. It was neat to see the plains, but I’m glad I don’t live there.

The best part of the driving was that I was able to listen to CD’s that I haven’t listened to in a long time. On the way out I had a Jazz-a-thon. I started out with Hank Crawford’s “Wilde Flower” album and ended with John Coltrane’s “The Gentle Side of Coltrane.”

On the way back I rediscovered an old favorite – Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder. Years ago when I worked at the record store, I went through a Ry Cooder faze. He’s a blues guitarist, and I started collecting everything that he’d put out. When I came across this collaboration album that he did with Ali Farka Toure I was blown away. Ali is an African musician, and has several albums out, but most of them aren’t really my thing. This one however is great. No one interment stands out front and center. It all mixes together, and while it seems simple and at times a bit repetitive, if you really stop to listen they are doing some wonderfully creative things. It’s perfect to listen to when you’re driving or working at the computer…….enough with the endorsements. I’m just trying to spice up the Blog a bit, and tell you a little more then what we do from day to day : )

During my second to last Hospital visit, I had an interesting experience. I was meeting with the head of the Bio Medical department. For those of you that don’t know the Bio Med department fixes the medical equipment, and what they can’t fix the send out to be repaired which is were I come in. The guy was a bit crusty at first saying things like “I can do that for $20 and you’re going to charge me $180,” and “I don’t like sending my flex scopes to 3rd parties because the quality stinks.” He wasn’t being mean, he was expressing his concerns, and had a coarse way of doing it.

A few weeks before my trip, I had read the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I had heard about the book many times before but always stayed away because is sounded like a book that focused on manipulation – which I didn’t want anything to do with. As it turns out the book is about human behavior, and how to understand that behavior to build relationships. It’s a great book and has applications in a business and personal settings, probably more personal than business.

One of the things that book talks about is becoming genuinely interested in other people. You’ll develop a stronger relationship with a person by getting them to talk about them selves rather then telling them about you, or in my case the service I can provide.

Feeling that the meeting needed a bit of help I looked around the room and saw that he had several model air plains hanging from the ceiling. I asked him about them, and he started telling me all about the models, his time in the Air Force, and doing intelligence work during the Gulf War. It was all very interesting, and the feeling in the meeting changed from confrontational to one of mutual respect. He even gave me two repairs and promised more if everything works out. The whole experience was kind of neat.

Today Hannah and I went to my cousins Joe and Wendy’s for Thanksgiving. My aunt and uncle, Katherine and Parley, were also there as well as a sister from their mission and her family. We had a great time. There was ton’s of food. We played games, watched football, ate pie, and relaxed. Joe spent 10 bucks on special holiday batch of “Jones Soda.” The festive flavors included such things as turkey with gravy, herb mashed potatoes, and brussel sprouts with butter. Joe wanted to share, but Parley told him that because he had spent so much money, he should save it for him self.

The hardest part of growing up in Alaska was that it was hard to visit family. I’m really glad that we have the opportunity to do so know. Even though we haven’t spent that much time together, there is a bond. I found a whole group of people that have my Mom’s sense of humor. We’re defiantly family and it’s great.

The older I get, the more I appreciate Thanksgiving. It’s everything that a holiday should be. There’s ton’s of food, you get some time off work, hang out with friends and family, and spend the day being grateful. The other night I was listening to a talk radio program, and the host was asking people to call in and tell him about what they were grateful for. I thought it was a good question, so I asked it of my self and came up with several answers: my bike, our jobs, mountains, ect. But two things stuck out: My parents and Hannah. I have thought about this many times. I’m not sure exactly what my parents did, but I was raised understanding what and who to respect and why, the difference between right and wrong, how to judge between right and wrong, how to work hard, and a sense of what is important in life. Every good thing that has come into my life has come because of correct choices I’ve made with the knowledge my parents instilled in me. They’re wonderful, and I love them deeply. And then there’s Hannah. She is the crescendo of all the good choices I’ve ever made, both conscious and unconscious. She motivates me to be a better person, so that I can be with her. She’s beautiful, funny, and deeply thoughtful and spiritual. I love her with all of my heart, and would be so lonely with out her.

I hope you’re all doing well. Be grateful!

Love Eric and Hannah

And now your moment(s) of ZEN……