Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sweep the leg, Johnny

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of attending Corey's first Taekwondo belt ceremony. He's been taking classes for the past 3-4 months and learned all the moves to graduate to the next level. Happily, he passed his test on Monday and was given his orange belt last night. (Here he is with his Taekwondo face and leftover Oreo crumbs around his mouth.)

He seems to really enjoy the classes. They are social but also give him the chance to do something that he can take pride in accomplishing on his own.

The ceremony was very well done given that most kids were under the age of 8. First they all bowed. The parent tie the new belt on them, they bow again and then give 'huggies'. Warm fuzzies everywhere.

Corey has also learned to play tic-tac-toe. This is just one of the games you forget about until kids are around. Last time we played, I had to end it at 35 games. Holy crap, that goes on forever. For the record, I won 2 games, he won 2 and it was a draw the other 31 games.

School is in full gear and my team is amazing. This first week, our main project was completed by Tuesday and no one had any objections to the way it was done. We had two conference calls to go over homework and each person contributed. THIS is what I had hoped for in grad school.

The classes so far are interesting and not overwhleming. Perhaps I'm getting smarter? In an evil way, it's fun to watch the new students struggling in Statistics as we did last year. However, I feel we are giving them more practical advice on how to deal with things more so than we got from our predecessors.

Word on the streets is that this year's class might not be returning to Vietnam. Hopefully, it has more to do with the curriculum than not being welcomed back.

It will be a shame though; I need to place an order for more table runners.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The 4 x 9-Month Relay

This weekend was a slap back into reality as I returned to school for 2nd (and final) year orientation. We're heading back into another 16 weeks of classes until I come up for air again at Christmas. As always, my commenting will be limited but this does give you all a bunch of agonizing stories discussing the benefits of declining-balance depreciation or activity-based costing models. And who isn't excited about that?

The five classes I have this semester are:
  • Managerial Accounting
  • IT Strategy
  • Corporate Political Strategy
  • Financial Strategy
  • Management of Technology & Innovation
Personally, I think that's just too much strategy. Where's the financing the home theater system by transferring credit card balances? That takes much more effort and skill.

The best part about this second year is that we switch up the teams. To say I had been saddled with the most challenging team this past year would be an understatement. My classmates begged the administrators not to change the teams, but rules are rules. (Thank God for rules.)

I'm pleased to say my new team might actually be the best of the five for this coming year. I have three others on my team and one of them is Katrina, a fellow 'mean girl' from Vietnam. We've been great friends since the day we began this program. Brendan is someone I don't know well, but in our initial meeting, we seem to have the same values as far as getting things done early and making sure everyone is open about communication.

The third member of our team has been nicknamed Super Dave. He's one of the smartest in our class and lucky for us, specializes in IT which will be helpful in a few of these classes. While he aces each class, he indicated that most of all, he enjoys teaching people when they are struggling with subjects. That was the thing I missed most about the last group; the chance to learn from others when I just wasn't understanding. Overall, the four of us seem very excited.

During yesterday's class, they announced the first years were beginning their opening residency today. It seems hard to even think about the two years they have ahead of them. Knowing I only have one is tough enough. But soon enough they will be smiling as they being their 2nd year.

I of course, will be cashing in from all the school books I've sold on


Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Day in the Life

For the number of blogs I read, it's hard to believe I don't actually meet most of their authors face to face. However, another blogger has shattered the monitor and I finally got to meet Mike from A Day in the Life of a Single Dad.

About a year ago, Mike & I connected randomly through some post that one of us commented on and we've been friends ever since. We've chatted back & forth and despite living only a few hours apart, never met until Tuesday.

As the father of an 11 year old, I often look to Mike to see what parenting is going to be like five years from now. For the record, it doesn't get much prettier, but the things they say seem just as funny. He constantly reminds me that while I'm one of four tackling this tough job, he flies solo in his responsibilities. Seriously, if I model my parenting after him, Corey will be in great shape.

Like everyone I've met through blogging, our chats were just as great in real life as they are online. His adventures exhaust me as I listen to stories of hiking 17 miles a day through Yosemite. It made me embarrassed that I broke a sweat just walking over from the metro. We discovered that we both are left-handed, love to write poetry and love camping. (OK, that last one is pretty much just him, but I did share my story of when I age 11.)

I always feel privileged to know such great people through this online world. They are friendships that frankly, I sometimes do better with than the real life ones. Regardless, it was a great pleasure to meet up with Mike and I look forward to future visits.

I did warn him though that we couldn't dog-sit for him since I'm only allowed one blog dog at a time.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Roll Out the Barrel

I know many people are tired of the whole "going green" thing. Sometimes I think causes can be a bit overdone as well. Hey, I love polar bears as much as next person, but honestly I'm not giving up my Aveda products just so I can make my own soap.

However, I'm all about small steps to achieve something bigger. (Larry is laughing on the inside right now. I never doing anything small.)

Seriously though, small changes in what we do make small differences. And a lot small differences contribute to bigger ones. Butterflies and hurricanes; that's all I'm saying.

This weekend, Corey and I went to the school playground to practice batting and catching. During one of our breaks, he commented on all the plastic bottles that people had left there. We were talking about litter and Earth Day and recycling, when a plastic grocery bag got caught in the wind and was blowing around. Teaching moment! We grabbed the bag and started collecting the cans and bottles to take back home and put in our recycle bin. There were so many that we had to flatten them to fit in the bag.

Speaking of plastic shopping & grocery bags, we stopped using them at home. One day at lunchtime, I went to Macy's with co-worker and instead of having the sales clerk put her items in a bag, she pulled out this rolled-up bag the size of a twinkie and put 4 bath towels inside. They come from a company called Envirosax. The bags have a variety of patterns and can be purchased individually or in bulks of 5.

Another thing we did this year was invest in rain barrels. Truthfully, the process started after we left a beer bucket outside after a BBQ. It rained almost everyday that week and filled the bucket up. The next week, we dipped our watering can in the bucket and didn't use the hose for the following two weeks. (BTW if you want to freak people out, tell them you use a bucket and every single person will talk about mosquito larvae. Hysterical.)

After some research, I found this company that recycles pickle & olive barrels and creates rain barrels out of them. They range in size from 20-65 gallons. Most times, these are expensive since the barrel itself is over $100 plus you pay a lot of shipping. This company includes shipping in the costs of their barrels.

These green efforts work for us; they may not work for everyone. I have no plans on burning corn husks to fuel my car or making my own clothes from hemp, but I do believe that every little bit helps.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Five (foot) Guys

During our errands yesterday, we decided to reward ourselves with a lunch at Five Guys. Since Corey (and I) had a whole day without whining, Larry said we could have burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.

As always, Corey has no qualms about public toilets and halfway through lunch announced his need to use the facilities.

I'm always impressed with bathrooms that cater to little kids. Five Guys was no exceptions as far as the urinals were concerned. Corey feels like such a big guy when everything is his size.

However, how can you think to put a urinal 5 inches off the ground and then place the soap dispenser 5 feet off the ground?

Obviously this person doesn't have kids.