Remembering Mi Abuelito

My Grandpa was a very special person in my life. I have a great family and awesome friends, but the one person that always believed in me and encoraged me was him. He is probably the person that I will always consider my mentor and the thanks I have to give him will have to wait for heaven. On a phone call with my Dad sometime last week he reminded me that it was four years ago when we lost him. In a weird way the death of his father brought us a little closer because we both admired him from different perspectives but for the same reasons.

I have spent most of the time since thinking about him a lot. I have always wanted to write about him and some of the life lessons he shared with me. He had the most wonderful stories about his childhood and was a great story teller. Last time I saw him I asked him to write some of that stuff down so we could share it with the future generations in our family. I do hope my niece and nephew get to hear about him from my sister and I, but I know that it will not compare with having met him and spent time with him.

Most people search their whole life trying to find someone that will back them up no matter what, a partner in crime… I was lucky enough to be born and have him waiting for me. I now have my wife to be my other half, and honestly one of the reasons I am so in love with her is that she has backed me up even when it was uncertain or scary when we were taking a step. It takes a lot of love to have faith in someone. I wish she would have met the person that first showed me what unconditional love looked like. I miss you abuelito, I miss you a lot.

Long Meetings

I used to dislike meetings. Even though they are a necessary evil in most work environments, if they are not propely structured or have an agenda they can take forever and not accomplish much. I say I used to dislike them because now my distaste for them has grown closer to full on hatred.

If you have never been on a conference call that lasted more than 8 hours you do not understand my pain. Yeap, if something goes wrong and you have people all over God’s green earth that need to work together to find a cause and resolve it, you end up with a bunch of people stuck on a phone call that seems to last for days. Thank God for the mute button.

The good thing about it is that if you are not the one that has to talk much and give reports on progress; when you are in a company of thousands and your usershare is only in the hundreds you ar small potatoes, you get to sit back and listen to other people sweat. I could smell the fear of not knowing exactly what was going on with some of the voices an late the excitment when everyone seemed to turn into monkeys flinging poo at each other.

I laugh a lot during this little exercises on human communication. From the guy that goes on a 2 minute talk only to realize he had a bad connection and everyone is trying to make him call back from the people that confuse mute with hold. Putting hundreds of people on mute is one thing, but putting them on hold so they have to continue the call almost shouting because classical elevato music is playing in the background is down right hilarious.

I have heard kids, dogs, birds and even club music in the background while people try to support a multinational company and still have a life. Not that I am totally innoncent and did not have to be quick to mute button when my cat Maia thinks I am talking to her and she decides to talk back. Time differences are also a source of amusment specially when you are handing off an issue. Someone is just started their day while the other cannot wait t get some sleep. I thought I knew everything there was to know about meetings, but I have been learning quite a bit more lately. It sucks to be this busy sometimes, but if you are, might as well laugh while hearing a guy probably sell mangoes in some street in bangalore.

Haters!

This weather is making me so excited about our trips this year. Even though my wife is going to travel a lot more than I well with a couple of conferences she is attending, I think we have trips to California, Michigan, Florida and Colombia planned for the year! We also cannot wait to go back to KC and visit friend for another long weekend. We also have people coming into town in the next couple of weeks and more in the coming months. So what does this have to do with the haters?

Last Friday I was at lunch with a group of coworkers, one of whom recently got engaged and could not be happier. His honeymoon is going to be possibly in Iceland where he has been before and highly recommends. Someone that works closer with him brought up how he had shown restrain when another coworker in one of the lunchrooms went into a long diatribe about marriage being a mistake instead of congratulating someone about their happy moment.

I think a huge degree of those types of comments comes from not being satisfied with your own life.

I remember during our holiday party one of my “area” coworkers was chatting with some of her friends. This freaking company is huge so my “coworkers” is a very lose term. I met the people I hang out with at management courses but they work on other floors. I still talk to the people that sit around me. My team is never in the office all at the same time, I do wish I some day get to go to Singapore for a meeting. So her friends are people from all different floors as well and she introduced me, most I have seen on the halls or elevators, but some I had never seen before. I was the only guy in the conversation group when suddenly the conversation turned from “who had slept with who” to man hating extravaganza. I excused myself to get more finger food and moved on.

Putting energy into hating things is just showing how much you either miss or truly love those things.

I have been married before as most of you know, and also had my share of horrible relationships. I still believe in marriage and also on staying single. I believe that whatever works for you is what you need to do. I also don’t care if you marry someone of the same sex or not, again, it is your choice. I gave up smoking years ago, but even when I am in a situation with smokers, I try not to be the person that say “smoking smells horrible and its unhealthy, you should quit and live a better smelling life.” That would make me a huge hypocrite since I used to smoke them and enjoy them. I just simply can’t hate smokers because I made the decision to not be a part of them anymore.

Intellectual Partnership

Hit Coffee is one of my favorite blogs because of how many subject it covers, even though will can at times very private, he is also very introspective in his writing. Posts there have inspired me quite a bit, and recently he was written a lot about dating and being a geek. It got me thinking about attraction and intelligence.

Intellect is a catch all term that covers a lot of different aspects of thinking, reasoning and even the capability of learning. It is a topic that most people don’t like to talk about because most see it as a rating, like IQ, when in reality you can be smart about a lot of things and different things. I value intelligent conversation in relationships, but also think being able to laugh at a stupid joke just as important. Common sense and street smarts are also things to value and would make a person interesting in my eyes.

What separates us from animals is our mind. We all have instincts to be enticed by simply the visual and the physical aspect of looking at an “attractive” person. What floats my boat might set yours on fire. When around guys I am just as capable of being a pig as any other, but when it comes to relationships and love I have always placed intellect higher than just looks. Chemistry has to be there first, attraction has to be there, but the other side of the relationships has to be interesting or I personally will move on.

I have talked to many smart woman in my life and most of them at one point or another have suppressed their smarts so they can actually date. Many have told me that they let the guy feel smarter simply because relationships seem to end very quickly if the guy realizes that they are more educated or money savvy. When watching transformers there was more drool than popcorn on the floor, but would she be just as hot if she was not “smoking hot” and still able to wrench a car?

I am personally not intimidated by a smart woman, in fact I find my wife to be smarter than me in many subjects. She is way more educated than I am, has read a lot more and dominates 3 languages. I love those things as much as I love looking at her beautiful eyes. I could have never dated Jessica Simpson, even if her “ditsiness” is all a a front, and I am not that attracted to blonds anyway. I get the swimsuit edition of Sports illustrated and enjoy looking at beautiful woman, but I find their life story or personality to be more interesting.

Beauty wears off, intellect keeps on being build. We are all getting older every day and when it comes to a long lasting relationship the important thing is to find each other’s jokes funny and conversations engaging. Attraction and sex are very important but we spend more time interacting with one another in a relationship than awake under the sheets. When looking for a mate you truly want an intellectual partner or the relationship will face issues.

I have always been surprised by couples that call the other person “dumb” behind their backs. My first assumption is that there is some type of insecurity or control issue going on, but I have never gotten very deep down that road because I find people like that not very interesting to being with. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and if you don’t feel comfortable posting your name, go ahead and use Anon. Have you dated (or married) someone less intelligent than you in every way? Do you currently dumb yourself down for your partner?

Bullied to Death

If you have not heard about the sad story of a girl being bullied to the point that she took her own life, you should at least skim the story. It is depressing to think that someone would take their own lives because they don’t see beyond the tormented tomorrow. I like to think of suicide as a permanent solution to a passing problem, but I know how it feels to dread going to school every morning knowing a bully is just waiting to make your life miserable. Sad part is that bullies don’t stop at high school level, some of them continue into adulthood.

Bullies are people that not only physically abuse others, but also call them names, start rumors, talk behind their backs and plant seeds on other people’s mind about the person. I had to deal with several of them growing up, thankfully one of them taught me how to deal with it.

One of my close friends in high school actually had family that lived across the street from me. We used to hang out outside of school, and one of his cousins was a good friend. However, in school we actually did not hang out because we were part of two different cliques. We would still talk, but when it came to group activities each one of us would go with our own little group. One of the guys in his group was probably one of my biggest bullies.

My friend used to play interference quite often, but there would be the opportunity that I was one on one with the bully and he would just go off. After one of the many destruction of property perpetrated on me I confronted the bully and asked him what had I ever done to him personally? His reply was simple and very accurate… “You are not a gold coin, not everyone is going to be happy to find you in their path.” While it did not explain the motivation for his constant name calling, taunting, etc, it did open my eyes at a young age about how some people are just simply not going to like you.

His words helped me heal, and I use that idea even now. People might learn something about you, or simply assume something and start disliking you. I have often been labeled arrogant because I am firm with what I believe. It does not mean that I am not open minded to ideas, but you better come with some knowledge before you try to change my mind on a subject. Even back then that was part of the problem, that I did very good at school and had a tendency to become a teacher’s pet because of my age even though I did not do anything to suck up. It did not help that one of my aunts went the same University as two of my teachers.

I have read various articles about bulling and with this sad event, more and more are popping up. I don’t know where bulling really comes from and I think its different in many situations. I think someone that is easy to isolate by being new to a group or younger as it was in my case is easy to target. I also think that it is a way for the bully to exert control on that person or on a group. A lot of bullies claim to not know they are being bullies, and I am not so sure about that.

The internet age has made it easier for kids to write garbage about one another. Even recently a Mom was involved on some MySpace drama that also ended in tragedy. There is really no accountability for the lies that can be spread in cyberspace. It is sad that our society is going that way in terms of interaction and that the “mean girls” rule the schools.

I have found many people on the road of my life that I did not find to be gold coins. The rocks in my shoe that I had to deal with for extended of periods of time have always eventually been removed. Keep that in mind when you encounter a bully, it will not be forever. I certainly dislike bullies and they are only as powerful as you make them out to be. The easiest way to deal with them is to remove that power, just simply don’t pay attention to them.

I am not sure if new laws are the answer, and I am not sure if the incarceration of teenagers will make this problem go away or simply make some people feel better because now they did something. I think our society is more comfortable with ridicule and judgment of others, than acceptance and welcoming of others.

The best thing to take power away from a bully is to have strong bonds with your friends and family. If I did not have the friends I had growing up, or a family that was there to support me through those years it would have been a lot worse for me. If you are ever in a situation where you are bullied, report it to the administration and get your parents involved. It is serious, it gets worse if you hide it. Talk to someone, because nobody has the right to call you names, or touch you in any way without your consent. Remember suicide is not a fork on the road, its a dead end. As sucky as life gets to be sometime, there will always be better days ahead.

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