Monday, January 31, 2005

Youth or experience ?

My good friend Matthew recently wrote in his own blog about the pros and cons of adult life versus that of a child. Which is better, the carefree existence of a child, or the tantalizing benefits, and associated stress and tribulation, of an adult ? My answer was this:

Who says you can't have both ?

I am an adult, a software engineer, a wife, a taxpayer and a homeowner. I do grocery shopping every week, fold the laundry and clean the kitchen. Yet my husband and I find great enjoyment in indulging in the various video games at Dave and Busters and watching reruns of Looney Tunes. Softball (often seen as a kids' game) is one of my great joys in life. I still love (and always will) a long, loud night of dancing to awesome music with like-minded people. Who says my age must get in the way of that ?

Being an adult has its downfalls, its stress, its responsibilities and commitments. But it does not mean that one is trapped in a cage, resigned to a life of PTA meetings, carpools, bad movies on cable TV and shopping for toilet brushes at Wal-Mart.

Adults have a way of allowing external factors and/or family pressures to suck the life, creativity and spirit out of them. This is not the fault of adult life itself; it is the choice (conscious or not) of the individual.

I choose to live my life with a vibrant devotion to the various sports, activities and people that surround me. Even as the pressure mounts and I find myself weighted heavily by responsibility, I have not forgotten how to let loose and have fun. Life is a mere shadow of itself if not explored, pursued, enjoyed and shared.

Especially with some low-fat ice cream, a good friend, and a scintillating game of Ms. Pac-Man.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Public service announcement

When choosing a finger to poke and jab to test your blood sugar, do NOT choose the finger you use to click the mouse.

Learned this one the hard way. Yeowtch ! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Why do I stop ?

For those who have known me for a while, you know that I have had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your perspective) of witnessing or coming across numerous traffic accidents and situtations where people need help. It happens with an almost scary frequency; usually in batches of three, every few months. Invariably the incident has just happened and no emergency crews have arrived yet. So I stop.

But why do I stop ? I was asked this question back in my EMT class last year. Why bother ? Someone has probably called 911, they'll be there soon, so what good will you do by stopping ? To be honest, I couldn't come up with a reason why I stop. I just do. Because I can. Because it's the right thing to do.

One of my ERT members once mentioned to me that he didn't think he was making much of a contribution to the team. He had responded to a medical call, and had been assigned to traffic control duty. His comment came from the fact that he wasn't the first on scene and did not have the chance to be involved in patient care.

My answer to him was that every single person who responds to these calls can make a difference. It may be something as simple as clearing the laneways for the fire rig and ambulance, or as profound as coaching someone down from an imminent nervous breakdown. Every single person, every single job, every single function makes a valuable contribution to the overall event. The ERT members are volunteers who take time out of their busy days and lives to help others in need. Even if it is not apparent to the patient or anyone else, each one of them makes a difference. Including the member who asked me the question.

So why do I volunteer for the ERT ? Why do I stop at these accidents and incidents ? Because I can make a difference in the life of another human being. Even if it's only very minor and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Lots of people stop at accidents, but many don't know what to do. I have organized these good Samaritans to help out with patient care when possible - not only does that help the patient, it gives a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction to those who truly want to help but don't know how.

In all situations, the patient is scared, hurting and upset. For those few minutes before the emergency crews arrive, I strive to be the voice of calming and reassurance. I check them out for injuries, take pulse, bandage wounds, listen to lungs - but if the only significant thing I do is help them to take a deep breath to reduce their anxiety, I feel that I have done something worthwhile. There is no way to describe in words the feeling of personal satisfaction from helping someone in need, and knowing that I was able to leave them a little better off than when I arrived.

Most of the time, there is no thank you. Only very rarely has any patient or professional responder ever thanked me. But that's not why I stop. True giving to others needs to come from the heart, not from the desire to be paid back or recognized. One of the "Suggestions on How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life" (Stephen Covey) is to "Make it a habit to do nice things for people who'll never find out." I take that to heart. It is one of my doctrines.

That person in my EMT class, who asked why I should bother stopping, is the difference between someone who does a job for the sake of having a job, and someone who holds a passion in their heart for what they do. That person was training for a job to make a salary and go home at the end of the day. I was training to develop my ability help others in need. I was training to expand my circle of influence to better serve my community. I was training to be able to make a difference, however small, in the life of another human being.

That's why I stop.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Don't worry, be happy.

Someone on the Weight Watchers message boards today complained that a coworker of theirs was going around the office singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy". How ironic that today, I am doing something very similar.

I've had the sh***iest, crappiest week from hell. Work has been insane, and I have put in the craziest of hours since the Developers came up to me at 3pm last Friday and told me we had a little problem. (A little problem on the scale of a HUGE customer account and some issues that may be our fault. Turns out most of the issues are not our fault, but we still had to do our due dilligence.)

So today I decided to paste a BIG SMILE on my face and wear my happy face socks. Yes, I'm walking around in jeans, a nice Cirque du Soleil shirt, and white socks with big yellow happy faces on them.

I might just have to start singing that song, too.

Happy Friday. :)

Welcome !

Hello everyone ! Welcome to my little corner on the web. I've finally decided to join the world of blogging after a long time of resisting. This is a little easier than trying to remember who I've told what to. Plus, it gives me an outlet for my budding creative writing skills that are pathetically underused in my world of technology, sports and activities.

I'm going to start with retroactively posting a few musings that I have done in the last little while. I will update in real-time going forward, but don't expect daily entries. One of the reasons I resisted a blog is because I write when inspired. I don't do very well when I feel that I am 'forced' to write on a schedule. So you will see updates on this site when I am inspired to share a message, vent or observation.

Hope you all enjoy my little ripple in the pond of life.

Andrea A.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Kagami Baraki

Kagami Baraki (translation: "Open Mirror") is a traditional Japanese celebration held at the beginning of a new year. For the NorCalSeido Karate community, it is an opportunity for us to train together and fill the dojo with great energy and spirit as we welcome the new year

Our celebration consisted of a rousing 7:00am workout, followed by a scrumptious potluck brunch.

We begin 2005 with clear heads and a strong spirit - even stronger than our frozen toes. :)

Friday, January 14, 2005

How could God let this happen ?

I was reading a thread on a message board that I regularly participate in, and the topic came up of the recent unspeakable tragedy in South Asia. Of course I am referring to the devastating 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that almost instantaneously changed or took away the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

The question was, how could God let this happen ? How could a compassionate God allow such pain, death, suffering and unspeakable grief ? Here was my answer:

If there is no pain and suffering, we would not know compassion, forgiveness and comfort.

Tragedies like this force us to look at our lives, stop taking things for granted, and inspire us to help others and be better people.

Death and pain is just as much a part of life as birth and happiness. The two are always in check with one another. With the inconceivable loss of life and livelihood also comes incredible stories of survival. With the suffering comes aid, comfort and giving. Countries are putting aside their differences and working towards a common goal - to help their fellow humans in their dire time of need.

How could God let this happen ?

How could He not ?

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