Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A lesson learned...and passed along

Many years ago, when I was in high school and still living under my parents' roof, my dad told me about a homeless man who asked him for some money one day in Nashville.  Dad told the man no, but offered to buy him lunch.  The man gladly accepted. 
Fast forward 5 or 6 years to when I was out on my own and working in Downtown Nashville.  I worked at a building on the corner of 6th and Union Streets and had to walk a few blocks from my parking garage to my office building.  Many days, I was asked for money from homeless people.  Many days, I just walked by or said no.  And many of those times, I was cussed at by the person I had ignored or declined to help.  I had forgotten a lesson taught to me...but then one morning, as I trudged up the hill from the garage to the office building, a woman came up to me and asked for money for food.  I said, "I don't have any small change, but I will buy you breakfast if you want it."  She gladly accepted and we walked to McDonald's a couple blocks away.  She told me her story of why she was here and why she was homeless and asked me not to judge her.  It was hard to hear, but she seemed like she really was trying to get her life turned around.  Well, we got to McD's and I waited in line with her.  We drew a lot of stares...and I just ignored them and talked with the woman, who was obviously nervous.  I told her, "You get as much as you want"...and she did, which made me smile!  She ordered 2 big know, the ones with pancakes, some orange juice, and another biscut or something like that.  It was a LOT of food...but I bet she was really hungry.  I walked her to a table and told her I had to get on to work.  I have told Benjamin this story and he remembers it and often asks me about it.  I hope he will one day have the opportunity to buy a meal for someone in need. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Dollar for a Newspaper

In Nashville, there is a program to help homeless people become, well, "un-homeless".  Well, there are actually many programs here, but the one I am blogging about is the sales of "The Contributor", a newspaper written by Nashville's own homeless population.  The program is structured to give people back their independence, pride, and life.  The vendors of the newspaper purchase each paper for 25 cents and sell each paper for $1.00 at streetcorners and intersections around town.  They have many requirements of them and must live up to the standards and rules of the program. 
I have seen these vendors at an intersection I stop at every day on my drive to work.  I always think to myself, "Gosh, I should keep some dollar bills handy so I can get a paper".  Well, last week, I happened to have a dollar bill and there just happened to be a vendor at this corner where I must stop.  I asked Benjamin to roll down his window and hold the dollar out.  This man ran up to the car and just beamed at us as he gave us the paper and took the dollar from B.  He told us thank you, said, "Merry Christmas and God Bless You".  The smile on his face was just incredible.  It also gave me another opportunity to explain to Benjamin what the man was doing and why.  B said, "I have dollars at home we can keep in the car for next time."  That really was a special few minutes for me - to see the joy on a man's face, to help out a fellow man, to teach a small lesson to my son and have him understand and want to participate.  What a wonderful day that was. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Non-Technical Christmas

This year, Benjamin asked for an iPod for Christmas.  YIKES!  That's a lot of moolah!  So I suggested that he had a lot of technology in his life an maybe we'd have a non-technology Christmas at our house this year.  He seemed open to this idea and I helped him create a small Christmas list.  I love what he is asking for:

A Monkey Pillow Pet
Second choice is a Frog Pillow Pet
Canvases for painting

I think he's made some good choices for non-technical gifts this year.  We also purchased season passes for Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN for the 2011 season for us, so that is part of our Christmas too. 

Benjamin had a non-technical Birthday this year too.  He got a lot of board games, a boomerang, and other outdoor gifts.  What a lucky kid!  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I find fascinating

I'm reading an article in Esquire magazine called The Brain That Changed Everything.  I just get so enthused when reading about the brain and how it works and what happens when you make changes to the brain through surgery.  The article is about a man, H.M., who had the majority of his hippocampus, along with some surrounding neuronal tissue, surgically removed from both hemispheres of his brain to help alleviate the terrible seizures he began having after being hit by a car at age 7.

I haven't finished the article yet, but I'm fascinated by one part of it that describes how a neuroscientist, Brenda Milner, sat "Henry down at a desk and puts a piece of paper in front of him. The paper has a large drawing of a five-pointed star on it. There is a mirror angled at the star and a curtain over the paper so that Henry can no longer see the star directly but can only see its reflection in the mirror. She asks him to trace the star. It's a hard task for anyone, with any sort of brain, though after a while, with practice, people with normal brains tend to improve their results, mastering the necessary counterintuitive muscle movements. The first time Henry tries it, he performs poorly. But the funny thing is, the next time he tries, he does it a little better. And the next time better still. With each new attempt, he never remembers ever having attempted it before, but soon he's completing the task as well as anyone."  Page 4 of the article.

Obviously, the brain works in very interesting and mysterious ways that we have been trying to understand for decades.  It amazes me that H.M. could not remember doing the tracing task multiple times, but another portion of his brain still learned the pattern and stored that information.  I cannot wait to finish reading this article!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Different people communicate in different ways.  When I was married to Gregg, we would go over to my sister Jill's house to work on her computer occasionally.  Many times, our conversations about what was wrong and what do do would go something like this:

Me:  "Do you think...."
G:  "Yes, but you..."
Me: "Yep, there it is"
G: "Okay, Good"
Me: "Okay, Jill, it's fixed"
Jill would be standing there either looking dumbfounded or laughing hystercially at what had just transpired. 

When Mark and I worked together at BGA, we often did the same thing.  I'd be researching an issue and I'd find something and mention a couple of words to him, like "Global Catalog", and he would then get on the server and solve the problem.   Sometimes, we would be working on an issue and I'd be at the keyboard at the server and get to a stopping point, then Mark would get on the computer for a few minutes, do some work that he was the "expert" on, then tag me and I'd get back on the server to finish the issue.  It got to be pretty funny sometimes. 

So today, I asked my co-worker if he had begun migrating some accounts from one server to the other.  He said, "No, I'll get right on that".  Then, a few seconds later, he said, "Is it 4343?"  I said, "No, it's 8080", he said, "No, the address is 4343, right?"  Me:  "Yes, I thought you meant the port" and I started laughing because it was such a cryptic conversation that no one else might really understand.  Maybe even you aren't laughing, but that's will one day.  ;)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Thanksgiving Funnies

I realize it's been more than a day since I last left you with some giggles.  Work has been fact, I worked this morning. (aww, poor me...haha)

So I last left you in giggles about Friday evening.  I did forget one part that Mom reminded me of in her comment that is SO worth repeating.  When we were walking through the casino floor, mom saw one of the cocktail waitresses.  They wear uniforms...that are short....very short...and low cut...very low cut.  Mom says, "Oh, they must have run out of fabric when they made her uniform".  I nearly fell over I was laughing so hard.  Sorry I forgot to put that part in the first one! 

So as we're getting on the elevator to the parking garage so I can send Mom and Dad home, the guy on the elevator said something about "which way are you going?" One of us said up to get our car and one of us said something about the 23rd floor. I remember the guy saying "You're parked on the 23rd floor!!? Mom said, "Yea, he's got a hot air balloon up there on the 23rd floor."   We can't remember what that guy said, but Dad said, "Yea, I have a pilots license."   Somehow we made it up to the car on the 3rd floor of the garage and they made it home.  I called them to check and be sure!  LOL

Saturday morning, Mom and Dad were coming back over to meet us...and I called them....and mom was laughing...because they couldn't find where they parked the truck!  I said, "Gee, I didn't think you guys were drunk last night!"  (They weren't, for the record!)  I don't recall when I have laughed so hard about so many goofy and funny things.  Definitely a Thanksgiving to remember!