Friday, May 25, 2007

"Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more..."

(with my deepest apologies to William Shakespeare)

Okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic here, but you have to remember who I'm married to! It's been about 7 years since I set foot in a real classroom as a student. Yeah, in the interim I went to all kinds of manufacturer training classes and I've taught a couple of semesters now, but that's not the same. And now I've done did it. I've registered for 15 hours this fall (and 3 this summer) at my local community college in anticipation of transferring (in a year I hope) to SIU-Carbondale in their Computer Science department.

"Why" you ask? I'm tired of knowing that I'm capable of a job and being told I'm not because I haven't received a piece of paper. I don't like the feeling I get when, after conversing with someone for a while (as supposed equals) we get to the "so, where did you go to school?" question which leaves me embarrassed or stammering, or both and suddenly knowing that my thoughts and opinions have been devalued. I've waited far too long to do this.

It's not an easy thing to do for so many reasons. First is the work involved in going to school full time again. It's a different world "inside." One that I haven't had to deal with in a while so the transition may be tough. Of course the logistics of having a family and going to school aren't easy. Did I mention that I'm going to continue to teach part time while I go to school? And last but certainly the most difficult, is the financial challenges this course of action will present.

But if it works out, if I can make it through the next 3 to 5 years (I'm probably going to continue on after the BA in Computer Science and try for an MBA), I'll be more marketable, more skilled and probably more confident that I've ever been...and probably more tired too!

Some Days You're The Ball, Some Days You're The Pins

Robyn felt like the later after the State Finals of the USBC Pepsi/Youth Tournament in Rockford earlier this month. It was a tough ride with two of her siblings, my wife Aimee and me. It was a tough house with lots of noise, bad disco music and heavy crowds. It was a tough format; two four-game blocks with no real break in-between.
Even with all that, Robyn managed to place 27th in a field of 113 girls. The top 24 bowled on the second day for a chance to go to the National Finals. They asked the first 5 outside the top 24 to come back in case someone didn't show up. One girl didn't so number 25 got to bowl. How far was Robyn away from number 25 you ask? 6 pins. 6 pins after 8 games separated Robyn from a shot at a trip to Buffalo. 6 pins. 0.75 pins per game. One additional spare in any of the games.
It's the little things in life. It's the details that matter. It was a tough lesson.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It Would Be Hard For Me To Be Any Prouder!

A couple weeks ago my daughter Robyn bowled in Alton in the zone finals of the Pepsi/USBC Youth Bowling Championships.  She, and her brother Aaron, did this last year in Mount Vernon as well.  A certain number of league bowlers from each participating bowling center get to go to the zone finals based on their scores during qualifying week.  Last year both Aaron and Robyn made it but Aaron didn't bowl during qualifying week this year so he couldn't compete.

Anyway, Robyn has been improving by leaps and bounds since I gave here a newer model bowling ball for Christmas.  She's gone from about 90 - 100 as an average to about 130 with a personal best game of almost 170!  I would have every reason to be proud if that were the end of the story, but that story wouldn't be very interesting…fortunately there's more.

I received an e-mail from one of the tournament officials on Monday.  Robyn has qualified to compete in the State Finals of the Pepsi Tournament!  We'll be going to Rockford the 4th through the 6th of May in order for her to bowl in the State Finals.  If she wins there (not impossible, but certainly not a given) she'll go on to the National Finals in Buffalo, New York in June!  

There's scholarship money and plenty of bragging-rights available at this tournament, but no matter where she places I'll be the proudest dad there.

Go Robyn!!!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Paradise lost

I knew I would miss my job when the layoff came, but I didn't realize how much I'd miss my office. Well, not exactly my office, the location of my office. One day last week I drove by the switching facility where I used to work around sunset. I had forgotten just how beautiful the view was from the top of the hill where I worked for five years. The serenity of the moment brought back many fond memories of those years.

I wonder if the ones fortunate enough to still have their job realize just how fortunate they are.