02 November 2005

A busy last weekend

On Thursday, after finishing with my fifth grade class, Laura and the kids picked me up to go to the airport. I flew out to San Jose for a job interview. The interview was with an internet company whose main office is in the Silicon Valley. While I was hopeful to get the job, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Last time I felt good about a job after the interview, I didn’t get it. So, I played down the fact that I was interviewing (maybe too much, but that’s another story).

The interview was Friday morning. It went, well, I didn’t think it went very well at all. I suspected the interviewers were unimpressed. I was brought in by a staffing agency, as the position is technically a temporary one until I’ve proven my worth to the company. The recruiter was great and encouraging, but also noted that there was an orientation on Monday. I let her know that, if it were necessary, I could start on Monday, but since I had a flight back to Tucson on Saturday morning, knowing sooner was better. She promised to get back to me by the end of the day. Well, she called around 4:30 with no definitive answer. Apparently the managers were in a meeting* until late.

Twenty minutes to nine the recruiter called with the information. I was to start on Monday.

Sounds like good news, doesn’t it? It is. I’m happy to get a real job. And I’m also happy that I’ll be back in the bay area. But it presents itself with so many problems. For example, right now I’m living at my parents’ house. Laura and the kids are still in Tucson. That sucks. I hate being apart from my family. Second there are the logistics of moving everyone out here without a good place to stay. We’ll be with my parents for a little bit, but anything more than a short stay here will be rather difficult.

Where to live in the bay area on an entry-level salary? It’s problematic. But some solutions may present themselves soon.

Laura and the kids are flying out in a week. I went home last weekend to spend Saturday and Sunday with the family. It was precious time. I hate to be away from my family. I’m hoping a lot of stress will fade when we’re reunited. While my dad was driving me to the airport Saturday morning he noted how much easier it would’ve been without a job here. I mean, I really wanted the job. But it comes with so many new problems and difficulties. But I think this job is a better than being stuck as substitute teacher. At the very least I’m starting a job that will be an excellent résumé builder in the corporate world (uh, I hope).

The following post is by Laura. It is the first time she’s written a post here. These are her first impressions Friday night right after I called her with the good news. I share a lot of the same feelings of excitement and apprehension.

31 October 2005


The views I express on these page are mine alone and not those of my employer. This is my (and my family's) personal blog. I don't speak for Google here.

Incidentally, I was hired by Google today.

28 October 2005

A change

I’m tired. It will be hard to write what I’m thinking since I’m so tired. I thought after hearing the news, I would be up all night. I don’t think that will be the case. I hope to sleep well tonight. But that’s always dependent on how well my girls sleep.

I’m excited for Joel. Not just that he got offered any job but offered a job that started out as a half-ass job reply. Okay, not that he half assed the application but that he didn’t think, like most of the jobs he’s applied for, that it would go anywhere. I’m excited it’s a job he thinks he’ll really enjoy. The last time I have seen Joel enjoy a job is when we met in Berkeley. That was over four years ago. I hope he really enjoys this job. I hope it’s fulfilling for him. I hope he’s glad he took the job. Even if he decides he doesn’t like it, I have hope that there’s a reason he was offered it and a reason he took it. Just like graduate school. It seems almost like a waste of time but if he hadn’t accepted I wouldn’t be writing on this post right now. We wouldn’t have two daughters asleep in their rooms right now. We wouldn’t have this house to worry about selling. I should call Summer tomorrow.
I’m scared. Not at the idea of moving but all that will come along with change. I’m scared how it will affect our girls. Mostly Abigail. Collette won’t have the fondest memory of this house and after time I bet Abigail won’t either. But she’ll surely be aware of the move, the change, a different routine, a new house, new friends, and of course her beloved Cody won’t be around anymore. That will make her sad. I’m starting to cry. I hope it’s because I’m tired. It’s hard with Abigail. I feel like I’ve just started to get my niche here in Tucson with the many things I can enjoy with her. She loves to get out and do things–just like her Mom. She loves her swim lessons. We’ll have to move before they’re done. She’s doing so well at swim lessons. She looks forward to it during the week. And she tries so hard when we’re there. Every Thursday at 10:30 is library time. They read 3 different books with songs in between. After the third book is Abigail’s favorite part–the bean bags. She runs up to pick the right one out and usually stands by Kallia to sing the bean bag song with gestures, of course. We’ve started going the mall on the first and third Tuesday of each month. They have a kids club and she seems to enjoy. This Tuesday after Halloween it’s a puppet show. She will enjoy that. She loves nursery. I really enjoy our ward. I hope she makes new friends quickly. I hope there are a lot of children in the new nursery she will be attending. I know I will find similar things in the Bay Area and there will probably be more opportunities there. But this is her comfort, or it’s mine anyway. And of course she will miss her friends. I don’t believe I’m projecting my feelings onto her. I know she understands the concept. Today she spontaneously told me that she missed Daddy. And he’s only been gone one day. And when we’re out for a long time during the day and we pull into the driveway she will yell, “yeah, we’re home!” I don’t know how to explain to her at the moment it’s needed that we will never be coming back “home.”I will cry then, too.

I don’t want to have to pack up our house. Yuck. I hate packing like that. Especially because we won’t really get to unpack like normal. Most of our stuff will go to storage. Double yuck. It’s like living out of a suitcase for 8 months.

I don’t want to have to learn my way around the south bay. Isn’t that a stupid reason to not want to move? I know. But I can just see myself getting so lost down there. The Headley’s always keep their house so cold. I feel bad enough when we visit that I’m always turning the heat on or up. They say the don’t mind and I’m sure they don’t but it’s not my house and so I feel awkward making them uncomfortable in it. I don’t like the bathroom upstairs. Okay, I don’t like the shower. I don’t want Collette to have learn how to sit up or crawl on a hard wood floor. I’m sure lots of babies do it. I like carpet. I don’t want to have to run up stairs every time she needs her pacifier put back in during her naps.

I don’t want to feel like I’m in transistion for the next 8 months. But I’m pretty sure that’s how it will be. I wouldn’t mind renting a house. I think I like that idea. But we may not have enough money to rent a house out. And I don’t want to rent a tiny house. I want some space. Who knows.

I’m excited for cold mornings…and evenings. I’m excited that we get to live around family and friends and the people we adore and love get to watch our kids grow up for a bit. I’m excited that there’s a heater I can turn on all I want upstairs. I’m excited for the holidays to be around family and a real holiday spirit. I don’t feel that holiday “spirit” here in Tucson. I’m not sure why. I’m super excited that we will get to buy a van! But I guess first we’ll have to sell our house. Or not, we could buy it on a loan and then pay the loan off as soon as we sell our house. I’m excited our other car will be paid off. That will be nice. I’m excited to live down the street from a Trader Joe’s. I’m excited Joel has a job. But I’m still tired. So, I think for now that’s all that will come out of me tonight. Who knows, after Joel announces his offer I may post this. Probably not. Most of all, I’m excited to see Joel in the morning and spend some time with him before he leaves the next day.

22 October 2005

No X-ray needed

Collette went into the doctor’s on Thursday because, even though it looked like roseola last week, her fever persists. And I’m pretty sure it was roseola. Her fever came down on Sunday and a mild rash broke out and migrated from torso to limbs.

Collette’s symptoms now include fever and congestion. At the appointment on Thursday the ears were checked, the throat was clear, a catheter was inserted, and a blood culture was done. That day no indicators were unusual. Yesterday our practitioner (Elizabeth) ordered an x-ray to be done to see if there were a sinus infection. Unfortunately our office never gave us the referral (we went down there, they were closed for training and I was tempted to shut off the power to get someone out of the building, but Laura didn’t think it appropriate).

So, the x-ray didn’t get done on Friday, as ordered. Instead we just had to wait til morning to get an appointment. But this morning Elizabeth called and said that it is clearly a urinary tract infection (UTI). Collette will have a twice-a-day, for ten days, antibiotic treatment. We’re glad we didn’t get that x-ray yesterday despite our indignation with the doctor’s office staff that wants to put everything off until Monday.

We’ll be glad to give Collette’s liver a rest from ibuprophen and tylenol. Elizabeth says that there was nothing we did to induce the infection, but perhaps there’s an anatomical reason. She’ll check at a follow-up in ten to twelve days. Regardless, the cause of most UTIs is never pinpointed. I wonder if her immune system was compromised with roseola which allowed bugs to multiply unchecked. We may never know.

If in two days the antibiotics aren’t taking effect we’ll be in the office again giving her shots of different, tougher antibiotics. Yipee!

21 October 2005

Fireplace! Fireplace!

This morning Abigail crawled into our bed at about 6. She’s made it a habit to crawl into our bed in the mornings. This morning it was just Abigail and me. Laura was off helping Collette get back to sleep from a night of congestion and continued fever.

Well, while Abigail was hanging out, she suddenly started saying, “fireplace — fireplace, daddy…”. I tried to agree with her. Last night mom had explained what a fireplace is after Abigail noticed it in “Goodnight, Moon.” I imagined Abigail was just remembering last night’s conversation. Then I realized she was pointing out the window. I glanced to my left and saw it. The sky was blazing red and orange. Sunrise was upon us and Abigail was noticing how “fire” bounced on the clouds.

The sunrise was indeed beautiful. But what was more beautiful how much Abigail loved it.

I think this is my favorite post.

Comment by Laura — 27 October 2005 @ 8:09 pm

A wonderful story.

Comment by jefito — 31 October 2005 @ 9:06 am

15 October 2005

Scoring done

Yesterday I finished scoring for my fifth grade class before noon. It was nice to come home a little early and spend some time with Laura while the girls were napping.

The fifth grade is fun. I enjoy working with the kids. There just isn’t enough time in the day to to get all the information in they need. Really I’ve been concentrating on the basics, literature, writing and math. Having just finished a position as a seventh grade math teacher, I’m extremely sensitive to the fact that these kids need to learn multiplication division and fractions. The kids are fun. A few are always bouncing off the wall, but that I can handle. All of them are respectful and generally do what’s asked of them. My favorites, of course, really try.

Most days are fun. A couple of days ago we were working on word problems. It was one of those: “order these four friends in age from oldest to youngest.” One of the friends was Amir. This name being unfamiliar to the children, I tried to explain I knew an actor named Amir. I began to explain the many different shows he’s acted in and the kids ears peaked. It was amazing to them that I knew someone on T.V. They all asked for Amir’s autograph. It’s funny. He’s not even a recognizable figure to the children, but just because he’s on T.V. they’re fascinated. Amir urges all to tune into “Campus Ladies” on January 8th, only on Oxygen.

Collette is still sick. Her fever is controllable with over the counter drugs. However, she doesn’t sleep as well and seems just to feel a little rotten. She’s apparently has roseola infantum or sixth disease, a.k.a. exanthem subitum. It is a harmless viral infection (HHV-6, HHV-7, roseolovirus). This virus is found generally in children under three. A high temperature 102-104º persists for up to a week and then a rash spreads from the trunk to the limbs. So far there’s no rash and the fever persists. This is day 5 of the fever. Hopefully it will subside soon so that Collette will sleep comfortably.

14 October 2005

A Cold Fever

I’m up a little early this morning. After laying in bed for an hour, not being able to sleep, I’ve decided to write.

Collette is sick. This is, I think, her first time really being sick. She’s run a fever since Monday. A little known fact: when using an underarm thermometer you need to add a degree to the reading. This we didn’t find out until day two of the fever. So, instead of running a fever just below 102, she was nearly at 103. While the difference doesn’t seem much, the threshold from “not worry about it, call the doctor in three days if it persists,” to “call doctor immediately” is right around 102. I’m glad we called “early.”

She woke up around three this morning. Laura and I just laid in bed for awhile as Collette just kind of cooed for nearly an hour. But finally Collette got bugged she was awake without anyone’s attention. I eventually changed her and Laura made up a bottle to give her. Collette did the cutest thing. When the bottle was nearly empty, I pulled it away, she opened her mouth as if to eat some more, and then flopped her head on my chest and immediately fell asleep. Mmm, it’s good to be a dad. I was reluctant to burp her and put her back to bed. But after having my moment I let get comfy in her bed.

Today is grading day. But, apparently, elementary school teachers are not allowed to issue “grades.” What? There’s a four point rubric that scores instead of grades. (What are synonyms again?) But they don’t allow teachers to average grades. That is, if I have three assignments worth ten, fifteen and twenty points I’m not supposed to average them. Weird.

The sun’s coming up and I probably should start getting ready to score my students. The fifth grade is nice. I enjoy being with the kids. And when I talk about not being there they whine. It is nice to be wanted. A completely different experience than the seventh grade math classes last year.

Just a little update on looking for other jobs — I have a couple of interviews lined up for the end of the month. I don’t want to get too excited. Job opportunities include part-time community college teaching and working for a tech company in the bay area. We’ll see where this all leads…

24 September 2005

Cabinet installation

Today Cody and I installed some cabinets.

Cody is my neighbor who we met at Church. He’s currently in graduate school (a circumstance I’m somewhat familiar with) and worked as a tradesman previously in finish carpentry. He landed a job with a cabinet installation company and invited me to work with him. He’s a good friend who realizes that I had no income over the summer. And he’s helping me out. He trained me and we’ve been doing this installation thing for a few months now.

I’m still slower than Cody. I think things through too much. Two weeks ago I tried a job by myself. It was a moderately large job and It took my all day. I started at about 8 am and I got home by 7:30 pm. I had to go back the next day to do finishing touches. It seems to always be the little things that take forever. But I’m still learning. And it seems we’ve got a good system when we’re working together. Today’s job was finished in just over four hours. That isn’t bad considering we get paid over $100 each for the job.

I think it would be a fulfilling career to be a tradesman. But very difficult. I’m supposed be a young man (right?) and my body will still ache the next day. In some ways it is nice to start a job in the morning and complete it that very day. You walk away knowing that you’ve made something that will last, probably for many years, if not decades. It feels good.

23 August 2005

Quick post

I have lots of drafts that should have been posted by now. But for those of you who’ve been watching, here is the unfortunate news:

Hello. Joel,

Sorry for the waiting. It’s been several debates for the position. We’ve been finally settled down now.

I’m sorry to tell you this but apparently I couldn’t convince other key voters during the evaluation. So, I have to wish fruitful results for the next endeavor of your career.

Best Regards,
—- —- —-

jefito Says:
August 24th, 2005 at 6:51 am

May they quickly go out of business.

22 August 2005

First day of school

For me, Monday is the first day of school. That is, it is the first day of substitute teaching.

I left this morning to find my car has a flat tire. So I took Laura’s car and went to school. I substituted for a sixth grade science class and we saw a 26 minute episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy introducing chemical reactions. Then I filled the rest of the time talking about chemicals and chemical reactions.

Being a substitute teacher is a nice job. It is a very poor paying job. And the pay is generally inconsistent. Substitutes start out every school year with $75/day. Once forty days of work have been completed, the pay jumps to $121/day. That’s just over $20,000/year. Plus, the job has no benefits whatsoever offered to substitute. But, if I could, I wouldn’t mind making a career out of it. I’m able to interact with a variety of different students and the subject matter is often varied enough that it keeps me thinking. However, the day a substitute is in the class is usually the day even the best student will break the rules. Sometimes it can be a challenge to manage the class. As the year rolls on and you visit a school more than a couple of times, children begin to recognize you and a rapport begins.

It’s a nice, poor life

07 August 2005

The interview

As I said in my last post there was a mad dash to get on a plane for my job interview. It was a short flight from Tucson to LA, with a long car drive from LAX to Thousand Oaks. But most of the car ride was along the beach or in the hills altogether scenic which took the edge off the shuttle trip.

The next morning, at the hotel I was greeted by the hiring manager with whom I had the phone interview. He drove me over to the company site and we sat down to have my first of several face to face interviews that day. He seems convinced I would do a good job. He pointed out his supervisor’s names on the itinerary and stated that I had to convince them if I were to get the job. Okay, no problem, I hope.

After a quick tour of the company I met with another project manager. He discusses his project and how he also has an opening that I might make a good fit. That’s good news, now there’s two positions I might qualify for. I had two other interviews with other project managers and then went to lunch with three research associates (the same type of position I’m applying for). The food was excellent and the conversation good during lunch. The restaurant is called The Fin and I enjoyed the Ahi I ordered. All four of us also shared a delicious ganache fondue. Lunch went a little long and we returned late. My next meeting was with the director of human resources. It seemed to go well. The vice-president of the company (a former UA professor) was supposed to also visit with me, but I was bumped off his schedule. I hope that’s okay. He was one of the people I was supposed to convince. After more interviews with most of the same questions, I met with Steve, the other guy I needed to impress to get the job. It seemed like it went well and he even looked at possible housing for me in the area (I assume that’s a good sign).

My trip home was uneventful and I left feeling excited about moving back to California. The shuttle drove back to the airport passing the famous beaches of that area and I pined to be out there on a surf board waiting for the waves to peak. Maybe soon…

04 August 2005

Quick drying

If you want to stress me out, put me in a 2.5′ x 5.5′ room, lay down some thinset, and tell me I’ve got to get it right before it dries.

Such was the situation earlier today. Laura and I finished (just barely) laying tile in our bathroom. It is clear that the work was done by a non-professional, but all and all, it took only about $100. We choose to tile our bathroom because it came with half vinyl (in the water closet) and half carpet (between the shower and basin) flooring. The carpet showed lots of wear considering it is only three years old. It just isn’t a good idea to put carpet in a place where there’s so much moisture. But that’s what your stuck with in tract housing developments, I suppose.

The project started Monday evening with a trip to Loew’s to purchase of a few tools (trowel, float, etc… it all came in a bucket for about $20), some concrete, and tile. We figured the bathroom to be 40 square feet and bought two boxes of 20, 12″x12″ tiles. That night I removed the carpet, vinyl and baseboards. Here we are in the midst of the removal:

Then we prepared the concrete subfloor which had glue and paint that had to come up. This was probably the most labor intensive part and we scraped at the floor, I with my putty knife and Laura with a metal spatula. This went into the night and was finished the next morning. Then it was tile cutting time. Fortunately a neighbor has a power tile cutting saw we borrowed. That saved time and headache. Laura decided to take the kids to the park while I cut the tiles because it is difficult to do with Abigail being curious and, in her mind, helpful. By the time they got I home I was finished with most of the tile cutting and stopped for the day. It wasn’t until the next morning that I mixed the concrete.

This is the dry fit:

Starting to put down the concrete and lay tile was stressful to say the least. I was in a cramped water closet, sweating like I do and trying to make it fit correctly. Once I got down the first five tiles I started to get the hang of it. But just I was finishing the water closet I began to realize the 25 lb. bag of cement wasn’t going to work, so Laura went to buy some more. This is the fault of that under-helpful associate at Loew’s who claimed 25 lbs. would easily do 40 square feet. This led to one of the most noticeable mistakes in the tiling — an uneven grout line. You see, I would’ve caught the mistake before the tile set if we didn’t have to spend an hour to get and prepare the next batch of cement. Laura says she doesn’t notice and I suppose that’ll have to do.

Getting there:

I seemed to get in my groove again at about 12:30 and the tiling seemed to be proceeding quickly. With about three rows of tile left I asked Laura what time it was — oops — 1:45. I had a flight to catch for a job interview. The flight left at 3:oo, which meant I needed to get in the shower. We quickly tried to finish the tile (Laura laid the last few as I got into the shower) and I made it to the airport in time. That’s the nice thing about Tucson. It only takes about ten minutes to check in and go through security. I still had time to wait before boarding the plane as I got to the airport 30 minutes prior to departure. It was a rushed day, but nice to accomplish something.

Of course, it isn’t done yet, there’s still grout and baseboard to replace, but that’s another day.

29 July 2005

The phone call

Today is a good day. I just got a call from a principle investigator(PI) at a biotech company. I’m excited. It was my second phone interview with him. What happened with the first interview? Well, I called him. I was getting tired and frustrated with the lack of feedback I’ve gotten by submitting my résumé to a corporate website. This particular position is advertised with the name of the hiring PI. So after having submitted my résumé I called him up and had a chat with him. It was good.

That was last Monday. He said he’d let me know the status of my application by the end of the week. Well, last week came and went. It wasn’t until Wednesday evening (very late in the evening) that I got an email from him requesting another phone interview. He also wanted a CV (though he had my résumé). So, you’ll notice I’ve posted a second résumé going into a little more detail about my scientific background (maybe that’s why I’ve been striking out!). Posted for your perusal and distribution!

Again, I just got off the last phone interview. Only one possible oops, maybe two—I asked about money (that’s why they call it money, right?) and he said he wasn’t qualified to answer. He tried to reassure me that it was higher end pay for the industry, but isn’t everything in California require higher end pay for living expenses? In any case, he invited me to a sit down interview next week. Wow! Just the other day I was ruminating over the possibility of working another year as a substitute teacher. Of course, that still may happen, it is, after all, just and interview. What was the other oops? Well, I told him about possibly getting a Ph.D. He asked what I would study if I went for a Ph.D. He brought it up! You have to understand, I quit graduate school because I wasn’t getting anywhere with my Ph.D. So, I got the M.S. After telling him what I’d study if I did get a Ph.D. he started talking about me needing to stay at the company for a certain period of time and I couldn’t go and quit to go to a doctorate program. Then I backtracked a little and told him about my desire for stable employment, how I’m looking to stay in one place, rear a family, yadda, yadda, yadda. Eh — I think he got the message I would stick around.

I leave next week for the interview. Here’s how it is going to go. I’ll fly in the night before. Then I’ll get over to the company at about 9:00am. I’ll tour the company and have my face to face interview with the hiring PI. I’ll visit with the PIs for 20-30 minutes each and have lunch with other research associates. When that’s all done around 3pm I fly back home. And I guess they call me if they want me to work for them.

It is a little weird that I might be employed soon. Beyond that, I might be moving myself out of Tucson and back to California. It is southern California, so it’s like I’m moving home, but not quite. Also, I don’t want to get too excited considering I may not get the job at all. However, the format of the interview is very much like a graduate school interview. And if I remember correctly a graduate school “interview” is much more of a recruitment weekend than it is an interview. That aside, I may still end up just substituting when this is all said and done. I’m just happy I’m doing more than submitting résumés to websites. At least I’ll finally get a little feedback. But I’ve beat the odds so far — 6/200 for a phone interview. I don’t know if they’re flying all six phone candidates out, but I know I’m one of them!

I think the major take home for me is: talk to someone, anyone. I think this has greatly helped my chances for success. Just getting someone on the phone to say, “Hey, you get my résumé?” has been the most helpful tactic to date. Hooray for phones!

4 Responses to “The phone call”

  1. Jacque Says:

    I’m smiling with joy for your opportunity. And, if you don’t get the job, it’s not because you were not qualified - the other guy had more of what they want. Joel, I don’t really need to tell you this, but in an interview, you have two ears and one mouth as the song goes - listen carefully and ask questions; clarify what they want to know and apply your knowledge to that question. You won’t know everything they ask and after you have worked for them a year or so, you’ll know more, but no one goes into an interview with all the right answers. And tell them you want the job and why. Research their company and during the interview drop a few nuggets of knowledge about their company, their product or their philosophy. Let them know you’ve done some homework and like what you see. And fast and pray that you are doing what the Lord wants to you do. If it is, things will work out the way they should.

  2. jefito Says:

    Fingers are officially crossed.

  3. vicki headley mom Says:

    Jacque gave you great advice. This is a little late, but do you need a suit? If you can get one, I’ll pay for it. So you are doing this blogging thing all in html and not with an editor? I’m impressed. All my html skills have gone out the window since I have been using an editor for so long. Good luck. Sometimes the Lord doesn’t let you know what he wants your profession to be - He does leave some decisions up to you. You need to know if this will be in harmony with your goals to keep your covenants. We continually pray for the best for you and feel that getting a job is a good thing (how Martha Stewart).

  4. Administrator Says:

    Actually, this blog is from: www.wordpress.org. It is an open source application for the web. However, the rest of the website is all me. I really hope I don’t need a suit. I’ll be sporting a shirt and tie, though.

28 July 2005

Web authoring

Well, I’ve done it. I finished the site. I mean, I almost finished the site.

Ok. I finished authoring the site. I just need to fill it in with content. Take a look at my life under construction at joelman.org. Considering my life is under construction, it is no wonder that parts of the site remain under construction. Get it? ah, phewy.

I’m working on my computer skills as I hope to get a job somewhere—anywhere. I’m mostly looking in the research field, but I would be open to almost anything. Hence, my drive to learn more stuff about computers. A long time ago someone told me I should just be a computer programmer. He was right. Live and learn, I guess. We’ll see if I gain enough web authoring skills to be helpful. In any case, I’m having fun doing it. There’s nothing like going over something forever (at least, it seems like forever) and then finding that one line with a missing : or ; or } or even an incorrect value that changes the entire page. It is gratifying. Perhaps I’ll be coming to site a near you someday.

26 July 2005

Oh my FTP—oh my!

I’m trying to redesign the joelman website. Don’t get too excited. I haven’t spent the night on it like I expected. Why? Because I’m an idiot.

Well, not really, but close. I’m using a nice GUI interface to upload my index.html page. The first page everyone looks at, right? Well, instead of a careful upload into the correct directory it went into my /blog directory. That was a problem. Makes me want to return to the command line. The index file replaced the existing index.php (why would it do that, different extensions and all?). Well, that made this blog unreadable. I tried to fix it. And I guess I did, by just downloading the entire wordpress codex again and over-writing the messed up index.php with an original. Since I haven’t really taken advantage of customizing the site, no other changes were required. Phew.

But I was frustrated reading through help pages at wordpress.org. They were of no help. But common sense ruled the day, I guess.

Back to building my website. I’m using a theme “Life under construction” basically, because I have no idea what I’ll be doing with my life in the next few months. I’m searching for a stable job with no luck. More importantly, I suppose, is my lack of direction. Quitting graduate school and deciding a Ph.D. wasn’t for me has looked more and more like a dumb decision. Considering I have no career goals, I feel like I’m stuck in a rip tide being pulled out to who-knows-where.

Well, if you’re following my blog, you’ll notice that I’ll back track and publish several days of writing at once. That’s because I start something and the drafts start piling up. I have the intention to edit and publish in a timely fashion, but it just doesn’t happen. So keep coming back and scroll down, something new might be there.

2 Responses to “Oh my FTP—oh my!”

  1. Rahul Says:

    Hmmm… It probably didn’t replace the index.php. But I think the server looks for a .html file to present first. So if there’s and index.php file and an index.html file, the index.html file will get priority…

    For future reference if you’d just deleted the newly copied index.html file everything should have been fine.

  2. Administrator Says:

    That’s what was so strange. There was no index.html file in the directory. In fact I would moved the “new” index.php and it was a simple file like this:

    However, when I looked at it under admin presentation->theme editor->main theme, I saw my index.html. That’s what was so strange to me. I promise, no .html file to delete and replacing the .php file made the fix happen.

23 July 2005

Again, again

Abigail totally gets TiVo.

She’ll never sit down for an entire show. But she does love the music sequences in her favorite shows which include Sesame Street, Wiggles, Blue’s Clues (a new one for her) and Doodlebops. She doesn’t necessarily watch the entire show, but she’ll request certain parts to be replayed over and over. Whether they’re songs or short sequences, she gets that she can instantly watch them over and over.

This is thanks to TiVo’s instant replay button. The immediate 8 second flip-back that allows its user to always review any television—nothing is to be left unheard or unseen.

But the instant replay isn’t just there so Abigail can replay her favorite song of the day. Nope. It is for her favorite commercials too. For instance, she loves a pet food commercial that features a cat stalking prey as the song chants: “in the jungle, the mighty jungle…” Perhaps my favorite is her fascination with the out of work raiders looking for jobs elsewhere as everyone gets a new “hassle-free” credit card. Well, she demands to watch the guy repairing aerial electrical wires, getting shocked and falling down. She thinks it’s halarious! Wow. We wonder about her sometimes.

Regardless, TiVo is a great thing. And hey, if you get one, mention I recommend it to you. Here’s my referral number: R4059189. Use it and I think I get a free coffee mug or something.

21 July 2005


The monsoon is here and it is wonderful.

I know—I don’t live in India. And I don’t know what a real monsoon is. My father-in-law would constantly remind us that this is nothing like a monsoon. During his time in the armed forces he served in an Asian country where real monsoons occur.

But I know what a monsoon means in Tucson. Lightening shows and lots of rain—often flooding. It brings a relief to the recent high temperatures over 110. It replenishes the earth with much needed water. And it provides local news their headliner. Because, inevitably, some idiot tries to cross a flooded wash and gets stuck. This is a problem in Arizona, but Arizonans like to punish those that get stuck in the mud. They have a “stupid motorist law” that requires drivers to reimburse the state in case of rescue. I love the candor of locals when warning people of the danger of flooded roads. Only in Tucson.

By the way, the meteorological definition of monsoon (at least by local standards) is three consecutive days where the dew point averages 54 or above. And we enjoy it. We get a break from the sun with afternoon cloud cover and evening walks turn beautiful with the clouded sunsets reflecting pink and oranges hues on the desert mountains. It might be my favorite time of year in Tucson.

18 July 2005

It's green!

Abigail has a penchant for calling things green. We’ve been working with her to learn her colors. Unfortunately she hasn’t seemed to learn them well and we don’t know why. It is hit or miss. Sometimes she’ll be dead on. Others—well, sometimes it’s just gotta be green.

I wouldn’t say green is her favorite color—it’s her favorite word for color. As a parent one ruminates on the possible reasons for this behavior. Are childrens’ young eyes still developing the color spectrum? Would she know the difference if we just concentrated on primary colors? Blue and red would be obvious while purple stays a mystery? Does she have a classification system beyond color? Is this the sign of exceptional intelligence? Is this a sign of, uh, slowness? Does she do this just to mess with her parents?

The questions go on and on. Though nothing really yeilds an answer. I mean, she’s a smart kid. She knows the words. Every time we sign the color she verbalizes it correctly. So, what’s the deal?

And then it all made sense.

You ever hear that thing, you know, sage advice, that your kids will be listening when you least expect it? And then they’ll emmulate the last behavior you want them to adopt?

I made a mad dash to Mervyn’s down the street to get some swim trunks (evidently, nows the time to buy, 70% off!). I was doing my best to be quick as Abigail was promised a trip to the pool. And Laura and I worry that the early evening will be summer thunder storms (we don’t swim when lightening is in the air).

On my way home I was turing right, behind a lady looking left for oncoming traffic. That’s fine, except there was no oncoming traffic because the light was, you guessed it—green! Being the vocally inclined driver that am I say (in a moderately gruff voice): “Go!” *honk*, “It’s green lady!” Oh, she went—she went as soon as I hear Abigail from the back seat say—”It’s GREEN!”

She says it because it is my favorite color.

Am I a bad parent? Laura reports that she’s also yelled (in a cute way), “Go, go, go!” to other cars on the road. Now, I would like to blame this all on Tucson’s lack of skilled drivers, however, I’m obligued to accept responsibility. And I’m inclined to think that kids don’t listen/watch/do everything the parent does—just the stuff that’ll come back and bite you someday.

Watch myself—always. Too bad my vision ’tain’t so very good.


  1. I read this every day. Just so you know.

    Hooray for the Joelblog!

    Comment by Jeff — 20 July 2005 @ 10:17 am

  2. Too bad I don’t write everyday. Thanks for reading! I just finished yesterday’s entry on Jude Cole. Just so you know.

    Comment by Administrator — 20 July 2005 @ 10:22 am

  3. Give the kid a break - she’s 20 months old!! Maybe she doesn’t care about colors or maybe she color blind or maybe she doesn’t see the value in learning about colors right now. Kids will drive you crazy….

    Comment by Jacque — 28 July 2005 @ 3:44 pm

  4. […] a. As it turns out, I miss something more than even that. I am missing my friends become parents. It’s kind of an abstract thing that I probably wouldn’t even notice happe […]

    Pingback by The Average Blog » Blog Archive » Buddies having Babies — 6 September 2005 @ 7:26 am

15 July 2005

Waking up ...

at 8:30 this morning! Abigail really slept in. Which, in turn allowed Laura to really sleep in, which she’s grateful for. I got up a little earlier this morning and played on the computer. I’m kind of amazed at this whole bed thing for Abigail. But also gratified because it fits in with my plan. I don’t want to have to buy a second crib for Collette (she currently resides in a bassinet). But I also have some crazy idea in my head that I can build Abigail a bed.

I was in the garage last night at about 7:30. I was in there for about 5 minutes and was a sweaty mess when I came inside. I don’t know how I’ll build anything.

14 July 2005

Crib to bed transition

We’ve finally made the leap with Abigail. Her crib is one of those fancy-pants 4-in-1 cribs. It is no longer a crib. I don’t really know if it is a toddler bed or a day bed (what’s the difference?), but she’s clearly able to get out of it on her own now.

On Monday before Abigail’s afternoon nap, I “converted” the bed. As parents we worry that our daughter won’t stay asleep because she now has the option to roam freely. However, on Monday, when it was time for Abigail’s nap, I took her to bed and laid her down. I closed the door and voilà! Sleep! No. It wasn’t quite like that. But it was almost as easy. She got back up. Came into the kitchen and asked for a cookie. She had just had lunch, so I left her have the cookie and some milk. After finishing the first cookie, she pleaded for a second. I said, “No” and she whinned. I explained to her it was nap time and she wasn’t going to have another cookie. She was content with that answer (amazing in itself). I sat down and she went to her room. I was watching TV when I realized she hadn’t made much noise for a good ten minutes. And violà!—really. Asleep—for over two hours (a great nap for her).

And it has worked pretty well. She hasn’t really woken up and wandered around at night (as far as we can tell). And she’ll be content to play in her room without having to wake us in the morning for just a few minutes longer now that she decides when to get out of her bed. It’s nice. However, this afternoon she didn’t want to go to bed at noon. I think she got down at quarter past one. But it wasn’t a struggle. She just would keep getting up and we would tell her that it is time to sleep. So, she would go back and try it again.

I’m excited for Abigail. I love to see her become independent. It is a startling contrast between her and Collette, the needy little lump that gives an occasional rewarding smile to her caretakers. I’m sure that relationship will morph soon as she realizes those things that flap in front of her face are her hands.

11 July 2005

A blessing

Yesterday we had Collette’s blessing at church. This is a special time for the family. My parents and Laura’s father were in town for the event. The blessing is a somewhat formal event taking place during sacrament meeting. But there’s not much ritual in it. A group of us encirle and pronounce, essentially, a prayer. It is a humbling experience for me as I’m the one saying the prayer. But also it is important to me as it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I want for Collette in the future and my role in helping achieve those expectations. Not that I want to endoctrinate her beyound thought or feeling into doing what I think is right. It isn’t that at all. But I do want my message to be clear and consistent. Which, is often difficult as I struggle to become my own ideal.

I guess that’s the reality of parenting. Not only do I struggle to become the person I want to become. But I’ll struggle as a father to help my children become good, compasionate people. I can only hope that being aware of that struggle will help in the battle.

Enough of that. In any case, it was great to have family around. It makes me miss being around family and being able to seem them often. Though we’ve been able to convince nearly everyone to visit us out here, I miss frequent visits with them. So tonight, with Abigail, Laura and I planned an FHE that would help Abigail appreciate her grandparents. We drew a family tree. And then we cut out pictures of the kids, parents and grandparents and put them on the tree (too many siblings, perhaps another time). We talked about how our mom and dad are her grandma and grandpa. It was good. She has the tree sitting above her bed.

01 July 2005

Pediatric cardiology

Remember the murmur? That’s right, a slight murmur in Collette’s heart. Nothing to worry about, says our pediatrician. But she referred us to the pediatric cardiologist so that he could tell us what was up. Collette has a hole in her heart.

Okay, my big question, why didn’t the early pediatricians pick up on the heart murmur? I suppose a murmur may be somewhat expected in a newly born baby. Possibly two reasons: 1. The heart actually has to go through some changes at birth to accomadate gases entering into the lung. Before this change is complete a soft murmur may be audible. 2. Collette’s hole is now healing, thus contracting the space that liquid flows. It’s like putting a spray nozzle on a hose, the liquid flows faster and louder. The murmur is now more noticable.

The good news is: out of all the congenital birth defects there are to have, the cardiologist is sure this he would choose Collette’s condition above all else. She has a ventrical septal defect. A hole between her two ventricals. Unfortunately she’ll have to take antibiotics anytime there is a chance an open wound could get infected (as this may lead to infection in her heart). But her activity level should be normal. And, if anything, SCUBA diving is a high risk activity for her (higher risk of stroke during ascent).

Above all else, Collette is an amazing baby to have around. A few nights ago she went down around 9:00 pm and woke up at 5:15 am. Laura actually woke up earlier thinking something was wrong. Apparently Collette likes to sleep as much as I do.

24 June 2005

Upper GI

Collette’s upper GI (aka barrium swallow radiograph) went fine. She has no anatomical defects (hiatal hernia, ulcers, stricture, pyloric stenosis). That is very good. That means she probably has minor GERD, if anything. The doctor was very good. and he even gave me a radiogram to take home (update:see below). Once I get it scanned I’ll share it with everyone. It was very cool to see the insides working.

That’s one hurdle up and over. Next week we’ll see the cardiologist. And I hope to get some details on the murmur.

23 June 2005

And all of the sudden, they are blue

Yesterday, when I came home in the afternoon, I was able to hold Collette for a while. Her eyes were open and playful. Laura claims that she can now smile and I was dilligently trying to get to her to smile at me. But no such luck came my way. I think she immitated my Ooos, but no smile. Then I realized, her eyes are blue!

Photo from the pool with her eyes:

This is new. When Collette was born her eyes had a dark color to them. They gradually became lighter to a grey/slate color. Every now and then Laura and I would guess on the color of her eyes. Sometimes we thought they would turn out brown, other times blues or even hazel. It is so funny how they change. And how the way we see them change. It amazes me that quality of light defines what you see.

A day previous, Laura had taken Collette into our pediatrician regarding the possibility of having GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux). Not only does she spit up a lot, she’ll often kind of gags on her phlem. Yummy. The nurse ordered an upper GI to be done by a radiologist.

But that’s not all. Upon listening to her heart she noticed a murmur. A what? The sound a defective heart valve makes? Yup, a murmur. Though this is the first time Elizabeth (our regular pediatric nurse) saw Collette, Collette had been checked out three different times by two different doctors, and neither noticed this. Can murmurs develop? So, we also have a referral to a cardiologist.

Wait! That white stuff in her mouth isn’t milk spit up. It’s thrush. After the visit, we now have to take Collette to two new doctor’s appointment and adminster two medications. Thrush is a mouth yeast infection—antibiotics for that (4x a day) and then there’s the stuff for GERD (2x a day). Giving mediaction to kids sucks, but we hope that all this helps her feel better. Elizabeth isn’t even worried that Collette hasn’t gained weight in the past week (eek!).

According to the doctors, all this isn’t stuff to get too worried about. But that’s what we’re here for, to worry. In some way it has made both Laura and I attached to Collette more. I mean, we’re not “baby people.” It was the same way with Abigail. Upon birth we felt no overwhelming sense of love towards the baby. Though there is a profound sense of responsibility, affection occurs when the baby can do something. Babies don’t do much. They start to get real fun for us as they start to do stuff (smile, coo, talk, walk, etc. . .). As we got to know Abigail, we fell in love with her. The same, we assumed, would be true for Collette. But this string of abnormalities has really deepened our awareness of Collette’s needs. We feel the need to really take care of her. It has mad us closer to her at this point and makes me realize we need to do a lot more for Collette than just feed and change her.

16 June 2005

Dogs my cats indeed!

Ever mix up the words in a common phrase to develop an utterance devoid of syntactical meaning, yet everyone knows what you meant? For instance, I might say “tongue got your cat?” to the tongue twisted talker. While I don’t mean to say such gibberish, it just comes out.

Why? I’d like to think it has something to do with how fast I speak and how slow I talk. Er, I mean, how fast I think and how slow I speak. You get it? But that’s probably not the case. I’m sure it has more to do with my inability to multitask. And I mean true multitasking. Not the type you put on a resume. More like typing an email while talking to a friend on the phone. That sort of stuff.

I made the attempt today. While trying to trouble shoot a malfunctioning IM-video chat I was booking a plane ticket and talking to my dad on the phone. The result? Travel departing from, of all places, St. Louis. Stupid. I blame SWA. The Book Travel section of site moves from Plan trip -> Select flight -> Price -> Purchase -> Booked. When purchasing the travel you can’t see the travel you’re actual going to purchase. The site encourages you to ’shop around’ when selecting the flight. And then they expected you to be organized enough to note something besides the price in the price window. C’mon. Whatever. The problem is fixed, I think. And my parents will be coming out for a weekend visit (their first since the birth of Collette).

What’s the point. I can’t actually do two things concurrently. And I mean at the same very moment. Not switching between two tasks quickly. I really mean, at the same time. Who can? My wife. She puts on mascara while driving. That’s right, her face is in the mirror while she merges onto the freeway. She’s crazy and yet quite capable. Unlike me.

What’s the take home? Southwest Airlines needs to get a better site. I mean, I need to concentrate when money’s invovled. Or I shouldn’t do two things at once? I can’t decide. Too many ideas are running in my head now.

2 Responses to “Dogs my cats indeed!”

  1. Rahul Says:

    Yeah, but how does this explain “For all intensive purposes?”.

    It doesn’t.

    But I’m glad you’re writing.

  2. Travel Blog Says:

    Southwest’s Website

    I agree, Southwest could make their website much easier to use….

14 June 2005

1st night

The wife and kids are asleep. I’ve been working on the computer for most of the day. Laura has already expressed jealousy towards the computer and the time I’ve been spending with it. Laura and I have recently had our second child, Collette. She’s over three weeks old now and usually sleeps about six hours straight during the night. For those of you childless, that’s a pretty amazing feat. It took Abigail (now 18 months old) over a month to do that. And we think Abigail has impressive sleep habits (which, she does, it’s just that Collette has caught on so much earlier).

Having one of those children that stay up all night would’ve been difficult on us. Laura needs 8-12 hours of sleep. And, while I’m not sure I need it, once I’m asleep it is hard to get conscious again. Really. Despite having conversations in the middle of the night with Laura I’ll still end up not knowing what happened in the morning.

Wait. Back to the computer. I’ve been trying to become a computer programmer of sorts. Of course, I don’t know enough languages yet to make myself marketable. So, I’m learning. I’m trying to make myself more marketable as I look for a new job. I’m definately open to a new career. In december I quit my Ph.D. program. Er, I mean, I “graduated” my graduate program with an M.S. I recieved a degree in Plant Sciences. But, really, I’m trained as a molecular geneticist. Not that the two sciences are different, I just don’t want to leave you with the impression I could go on a nature walk and identify all the taxa of plants along the way. Whatever. I’m not going back to school anytime soon. I’ve been in college for too many years and I’m ready to start supporting my family. That’s the crux of why I left graduate school … more of that some other time.

In the mean time, I’ll be spending my time on the computer, in the garage or playing with my kids. I hope to keep those who care informed on my life here. Enjoy

While it’s true I’m jealous of the computer it’s also true of the garage. I love having Joel home with me. It’s ideal especially while getting used to having two young kids in the house. But it makes it that much more difficult to know that there is the other parent in the house but not really have them “around.” Don’t get me wrong, anytime I need Joel he will leave the computer and come help. It’s wonderful to have that option. It’s just I still feel like the only parent at home most of the day and so that’s where my jealousy comes into play. Plus, I’m used to getting all of Joel’s attention when he is home. Well, the kids get his attention, too, but that’s fine with me.
I hope all his time spent learning about computer programming is a plus. I realize that even if he doesn’t get a job doing this work it could still be a benefit for him to know it. Am I being pessimistic? Probably. We have this great idea in our head to move back home and get closer to family. I don’t want to get any hopes up. It’s super expensive and I just don’t see it happening unless Joel could get a pretty sweet deal somewhere in the Northern California area. So, until then, I’ll stay a bit jealous but very thankful in Tucson.
It’s just frustrating. My husband is one of the smartest people I know and is such a quick learner. I can’t believe it’s difficult for him to get a job…. we’ll see where this goes!