Jaime in dressMy Facebook friends know that I have been with Jaime for about a year and a half now. I first met her in November 2002. It was my first day at a new job as a supervisor in a call center. I sat down at my new desk, looked over to my left, and saw this pretty woman sitting a few feet away from me taking phone calls.

I immediately noticed was how magnetic she was. Her laughter was infectious. She held the attention of everyone around her, and they all wanted to be her friend. The guys hit on her, so did the women. She talked to everyone like they were friends. She had the ability to make people feel good about themselves.

It turned out, I was her supervisor.  I discovered that her charisma worked over the phone too. I don’t remember ever having to take an escalated call from her. She would have angry callers laughing by the time they got off the phone.

She quickly became my favorite employee, and I loved working with her for the next couple of years. It was a good day when she was working and a bit dreary when she wasn’t.  I could tell she had that effect on others too.  She is the kind of person whose phone will not stop ringing. There was not a day she didn’t get invited to go out. People want to be around her.

There were a couple of people who didn’t seem to like her. I figured out the dislike stemmed from jealousy. They wanted to be around her more, but felt rejected when she simply could not give that much attention to everyone who wanted it.

There was a noticeable difference in the office on her days off. The atmosphere was more serious – and boring.  She brought a cheerful feeling to the office that was missed when she wasn’t there. It was never the same after she left that job.  

We kept in touch a little after she left. Every once in a while there would be a Christmas card or an email, sometimes a “like” on a Facebook post. She saw me posting pictures of my daughter. I knew she had a partner, then a son, but there would be years we didn’t talk at all. 

Then my life fell apart. I was miserable, thought that being treated poorly was normal, and realized I didn’t have any confidence and didn’t feel any sense of self-worth.

At that low point I was lucky enough to reconnect with Jaime. She was as magnetic as ever. Just talking to her made the day better. I knew this is the woman I wanted to be with.

She says she is at her lowest weight since high school and that she is the prettiest she has ever been. When we are in public. I see heads turn as she passes, but her appearance now, as pretty as she is, isn’t what make her beautiful. She was pretty when I met her. Heads always turned when she was around. What makes her beautiful is that rare intangible quality that draws people in – her charisma, that magnetism. I saw it the first day I met her. She is innately attractive.

Now, I get to watch her create things. She sings, she draws, she sculpts little characters, and makes things.  We laugh together. We encourage each other. She showed me that I have reason to be confident. I feel good about myself again, and everyday I try to make her feel the same about herself.

Thank you Jaime. I am happy again.

Does she have to grow up?

OK, I’m a big Merlin Mann fan. Last week, Merlin posted an essay (language warning) that tells of the death of his father when Merlin was 7. He also tells of his own 3 three-year old daughter. That is the part that gets me. It hits too close to home.

My daughter is only a year older than his. She is a quintessential “Daddy’s Girl.” Every night at bedtime, “I want Daddy to put me to bed”. If she wakes up in the morning before I wake her, she yells, “DAAAAAAADyyy….oh DAAAAAAAADyyy, I’m awake!” When I get from work, she will run across the room to hug me while yelling “Daddy! I’m SO glad you’re home. I missed you.” This in spite of the fact that I normally go home for lunch, so our separation was is normally no more than about four hours.

A couple of weeks ago she said, “Daddy, I love you so much, I promise I’m never going to leave you.” Just a couple of nights ago, she mentioned that I missed her birthday party in December and asked if I would be there for the next one. I assured her I would be. Last night, as I was drying her from her shower, she told me, “Daddy, I missed you when you were here and we were in Denver.” Our family was reunited months ago (an eternity in 4-year old time), but that 4 month absence of me living in another state while we prepared to move still haunts her, but I know that is because she thinks the world of me (how intimidating is that?). It is a strange experience to be the center of someone’s universe.

I know one day she will stop calling for Daddy in the middle of the night. Someday she will not need me to just sit and hold her because she isn’t feeling well – or to sit and hold her because she is feeling well and just wants Daddy. Someday I will not get the kisses or feel those tiny arms hugging my neck as hard as she can squeeze. Someday she will not ask me to “do God bless you” and cross her forehead when I drop her off somewhere. And someday soon she will not need me to lay down with her before she goes to sleep. But she does all of that now and I love it every time.

That is why I make her breakfast most mornings even when I’m running late for work, and it is why I get her ready for bed almost every night – even on nights when I ask Honeybun to do it because I have a splitting headache (like last night) but cave in because she says, “I want Daddy to do it.”

Someday she won’t need Daddy to do things for her. But maybe someday she will read a much neglected blog and understand how much her Daddy loves her.

She makes me happy.

Big changes

Things have changed quite a bit since my last post.

I quit my job! I had been a supervisor in a call center for that last 7+ years and had been looking for a career change, especially since last year when I finished grad school. That career change happened when I was offered a job with a school district managing their data. That school district is in another state.

So I have moved from beautiful Colorado to hot New Mexico. So that’s the news.

What is important?

“Is the thing you claim that is really important, really important? Because if a lot of people actually looked at where their time and attention went, the parts that they do have control over, it would like the most important thing in their life is Facebook.”
Merlin Mann

What I’m thinking about

Happiness is not merely a feeling.

I’m also still reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin. Godin believes that the new economy values artists. He says, “Art is unique, new, and challenging to the status quo. It’s not decoration, it’s something that causes change.”

He also says, “Most of all, art involves labor. Not the labor of lifting a brush or typing a sentence, but the emotional labor of doing something difficult, taking a risk and extending yourself.” He is not talking merely about making a painting or writing a book. Art can be done wherever you are, even in a cubicle.

7 Quick Takes III

1. Jennifer at Conversion Diary posted picture of her ring in her Quick Takes today. This is mine.

I intended never to take it off after the wedding. Turns out that I can’t wear it more than a day or so without my finger breaking out. I’ve done all the remedies but they didn’t help.

The diamond is from my mother’s wedding set.

2. Last night, I met my wife and daughter for dinner at Sonic. My wife ordered a milkshake. Bailey got to drink some and kept asking for more “shake-milk.” I love having a 3-year old.

3. Although I have a master’s degree, I firmly believe that advanced degrees are not proof of critical thinking skills. An example of why comes from this law professor’s blog:

The President should make clear to the public that the situation in the Senate has reached crisis proportions, and point to Senator Shelby’s latest escapade as a perfect example of the selfishness and insanity that now overwhelms the Senate. Senator Shelby needs to be called out and shamed repeatedly as an example of how a rational legislative process should not work.

Then the Vice-President, as President of the Senate, needs to use his authority as chair of the Senate to insist that the Senate rewrite its rules, or the President of the Senate will begin making rulings from the chair designed to change how the Senate operates in practice.

The writer has no concept that there may well be consequences much more harmful than the “cure” he promotes. The branches of government zealously protect their independence.

If you want to see a constitutional crisis, just have Biden butt in to Senate procedures. That move would be unprecedented. Obama is not that stupid.

4. UFC 109 is tomorrow. My friend and I put out or predictions in our podcast this week.

5. My current favorite indie music group is Pomplamoose. Watch their latest video on You Tube. They’re catchy.

6. Count me as another person who thinks Harry Knox should not be on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

7. Remove a stripped screw-head with a rubber band.

7 Quick Takes II

1. Creativity and Resistance
Last night I listened to Merlin Mann’s interview of Seth Godin. Godin says there is not a creativity problem. Everyone is creative. There is a wealth of creative ideas. The problem people have is a “shipping” problem, meaning that people do finish the ideas they have.

The barrier to shipping is caused by our “lizard brains”. The lizard brain is the part of our brain that is concerned about survival. Basically, our fears (e.g. “they will laugh at me” or “my idea is not good enough”) keep us from completing our creative projects.

Watch Seth Godin’s video and listen to Merlin’s interview. You may want to buy the book after that.

2. Podcasting
The previous point has convinced me I need to work on more of my creative ideas. I’m still doing a podcast on MMA with a friend ,and now I’m working on putting together another podcast on election politics in the vein of a Hannity and Colmes style show. Obviously, I’ll be the conservative.

Maybe I can even squeeze a third project in. Time is a consideration though (and that isn’t a lizard brain rationalization). Basically, I have a couple of options and I’m going to pick the one that has the most promise with the time I have.

3. Faith and reason
I’ve been seeing a lot about the idea that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. I have long rejected that view. Coincidentally, I checked out The Handbook of Catholic Apologetics from a library a couple days ago. The authors Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli dedicate chapter 2 to the idea that “there can never be any contradiction between faith and reason, between Christian revelation and true philosophy or true science.”

4. Archdiocese of Denver
Have you ever been in Colorado and wondered if you are near a Catholic church? Well I have, so I created a Google map that shows where they are.

5. Crush the Castle
Looking to pass some time? Need a game with simple controls that allows you to vicariously conquer the world? Then Crush the Castle is just the thing.

6. Usability
Technical communicators should love this week’s Net@Night podcast where Leo and Amber interview usability guru Jakob Nielsen.

7. Crusades
Rodney Stark makes the Case for the Crusades. I’ve read another of Stark’s books “For the Glory of God“. What I like about Stark’s writing is that while he makes the case that Christianity is a positive influence on the world, he does not shy away from the negative acts that have been done in it’s name.