A Small Nugget Where My Dad Showed He Cared

Cherish the Fleeting Moments before they Pass

My father is 93 years old, and he has had a good life. Sadly, he is now suffering from forgetting names and seeing people that are not around anymore. He forgets our names at times, and it is somewhat disturbing when he calls you and it is not your name. That happens as well with my brothers. He is a different person from the tough guy that he was when I was younger. I have to say that I wish that guy would show himself before he goes and not forget our names. 

I remember one time, and it was only one time that my dad let go of some tears in front of me as a child. My brothers were at summer camp, and I was too young to go. That morning my dad decided to play games with him that day (chess, board games, even shooting hoops). I knew that my dad had to work that day, and I was crying because he had to go to work. I looked up, and I could see through the window that he was crying too but not as much as me. I never forgot that day. That day was the only time where my dad opened up.

I know that his time is coming soon, whether it is now or later. None of us are perfect in terms of our children. However, on that particular day, it was something that I have always remembered. It is important to remember our friends and families. Those moments are like precious diamonds. It is important to cherish those moments because they disappear in a blink of an eye.

Have you had your MRI Tonight?

I Have

What are you doing tonight? Is it a dinner and a movie or something different? For me, I am getting a MRI. This has been coming since June and tonight it is finally here. This is not what I would like to do this evening, however, it is important. I need to know what is going on in my head. It seems like aphasia but it might be something else. In any case, I am hoping that there will be a diagnosis in September. 

The good part is that I hope to get more information about what is going on and what can be done. In a situation like this I had a MRI about three years ago and it was a rather incomplete. I hope that this is better because I will be taking something before and during that will help me relax and find what is going on in my body. 

After the MRI

I decided to finish what I started about the MRI. The MRI center was very professional and I felt a lot better about the procedure. Yes, there were loud noises during the MRI but it goes with the territory. Now it will take about a month to get the report. So when we left the hospital we did what many people often do we went to In and Out and then went home.

How are you normalizing a difficult experience in your life? Want to talk about it with someone? I would love to hear from you.

On the Positive Side

What can you appreciate?

It is time to do things that you want to do. We have been cooped up for a long time and that has to change. Yes, we know that we have seen more movement in terms of being outside and doing activities with friends that you haven’t seen in a while. As an example, yesterday my family and I went to visit our close friends that we had not seen in about a year and a half. It was so interesting because both of our families had major growth (both physical and emotional) and it was astonishing. Of course it was a good thing but it also reminded all of us of what we had missed for more than a year. We all have to adjust to this new reality. 

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it is hard to tell. However, I would put this in the good category. Yes, we lost some time from being with them, but it was really exciting to see their two boys that have grown so much and ours have grown as well. It was a restorative time and I’m glad that we could connect with them. It made me think that it was ok to be away for a while because both families were more mature and more able to talk about issues and express themselves. 

So now I am seeing one positive side of this pandemic. I know that it is perhaps sad to say that we did not see our dear friends and family for the last year or more. However, it was wonderful to finally connect with them and have great conversations. I know that this has been a difficult time but see if you can find that thing that you appreciated during this time.

Share what you appreciated with me in the comments. I would love to hear about it.

Learning Restraint

How will you use restraint?

I learned the word restraint one night when I was going to pick up my girlfriend at the time. The year was 1982 and my car was a Corolla 74. I remember that I was speeding and suddenly I had police car behind me using his loud speaker telling me to stop and not to move — look forward, keep my hands on the steering wheel, and don’t move. I was in Inglewood and I had never been pulled over by the police. The officer kept saying not to move. He had his gun out and cocked on me. That was when restraint became a word that I would never forget. 

It is interesting how some words just stay with you for a life time especially when they have an extra story to go with it. I am sure that many of you have words that mean much more because they remind you of situations that you loved and others that you hated. This was one I hated. The officer got to the front of the car and he saw that I was just a 19 year old kid that was late for a date. Yes, I was cited for driving too fast. Yes, I was cited many times. And yes, I always used restraint. I had to because as a male Latino you don’t get much sympathy from the LAPD. 

In life we are always put into situations that can be difficult. It is important that we remember that restraint is hopefully an option that you can use. There are too many people that  are getting hurt. We need people who can help others. Perhaps you can be one of those people that can help others. Think about it.

Summer Journeys

Where will your path lead?

I have committed to the journey of finding out more about my condition. We will see where that leads. I will provide updates as I learn more. It takes time some to get all the testing done and it doesn’t happen in one or two weeks. In the meantime, we are in summer! 

This is the time that usually is for sun, fun, and vacation! However, it also feels rather awkward with some people still feeling not sure that they are safe to go out and others trying to makeup for the time they have lost. There is no right or wrong. It really just is how you feel and what you want to do.  

Now I know the world is a big place but it is important to find places where you feel safe. My thought is to go where you feel most comfortable for you. This is our world and we need to live in it! Your sense of what you like and where you want to do is completely your decision especially now that you can do it. All you need is to decide what you want to do! Where do you want to go? 

Good luck and have fun!  

Life as I Know it

I am scared. I have spent my life working in education. This spans elementary, middle school, and in college/university. If you follow my blog you will see that I talk about education, psychology, and people in their daily lives. I like talking about spending time with family and friends and getting out in the world. However, I am possibly facing something that might change my life from now on.

What I am facing started in 2018 when I was assigned a class at MSMU and it was different. Usually, I was a meticulous teacher. I would set up the class at least an hour before it started. However, this time I had difficult setting up and what I was going to do. Sometimes I would blame the traffic for my sluggish mood particularly because it took me somewhere from an hour and a half up to two hours and a half to get there when it was really slow. However, I did what I could do. I decided that it was a one off. I managed to continue working at other schools but I noticed a different work ethic where I was not as I had been. 

Now with almost a year of not working in a school it has been surreal. Like most all of us it has been a challenge to get a job or several jobs to make things work. For me, I am still writing and life coaching. I miss being in schools. The plan now is to go through some tests to make sure that there aren’t any severe problems with me.

What about you? Are there any things that you are thinking about for your health or family? Your health and family are the most important things in this life!

Becoming a Teacher

I am still feeling nostalgic from last week. This week I want to talk about the next step when I lived in the late 80’s. Everyone has a story or a path that they follow even when they don’t know it. For me, I found myself working as an insurance geek in a large firm. It paid well but it did not move me. I needed something that would ignite me and it came one evening when my oldest brother talked to me about being a teacher. He talked about how I could influence students. The more he talked about his students it started to become something interesting and possible. I appreciated his words and within about a month I was working as a substitute in LAUSD and enrolled in the district intern program. 

Now, it took me more than semester to feel comfortable with my new job. No one really walks into a classroom without training and gets it right. However, I did have a lot of help and by my second year it was much better. I learned that it matters what you do in helping others and asking others for help. I made mistakes like anyone else. What matters is getting better as a teacher. No one gets it right all the time but everyone should drive to be better and better each year. Together we are much better.

I spent five years teaching at an elementary school and another five years at a middle school. After ten years of being been a teacher in elementary and middle school I moved on to UCLA and Mount Saint Mary University. I would not have done this without my brother nudging me that night. I am thankful that we had that conversation. 

What possible roads are there for you?  

Stillness of the Morning

I have always loved the early morning. It is a quiet and thoughtful time for me. I used to go out for walks or even drives in the early morning. I’m talking about back in the late 1980’s. I had a memory of driving to the Griffith Park Observatory at about 5:30 am one morning. This was before they locked the gates. It was an experience that I never forgot. It was really cold (by Los Angeles standards) and I stood on the backside of the observatory and watched night turn to day. There was absolutely nobody there. There was really little to no sound. Everything was still. It felt magical.

I remember thinking how it seemed like such a quiet and calm place to be. It felt like nothing bad could be happening because it was so still. I was the only thing moving. I have never forgotten that morning. The landscape was lighting up like a colorful mosaic. In that short space of time there was no violence or poverty to be seen. Looking out over the Hollywood Hills into Los Angeles it was a masterpiece to behold.

The observatory was a place where I found peace one memorable morning. It was eerily quiet place but in 20 minutes the view changed from the light of the city to the bright rising sun. It looked like an orange fire without the heat. There was magic in what I was seeing. 

The reality is that magical moments can come up at any point in our day or in unexpected places. Where or when have you had a magical moment that you did not expect? What stillness did you hear or feel? What magic did you find?  

Listening 101

Listening can be difficult particularly when people don’t want to hear what is being said. People often are more interested in getting to where they want to go rather than if the path is a safe one. To be fair, most people are very good at following directions until they are late for their appointment. This is the moment where people want to cut in lines because they are late. However, unless someone is willing to let you go first or you have a time machine like Doc Brown and Marty in Back to the Future it isn’t going to happen. 

It is important to take things seriously. During this time of slower lines perhaps we should spend more time listening others. You learn a lot about people when you talk to people. The tendency in conversations is to talk. However, you learn a great deal more about others when you listen carefully. Often times we spend more time not listening to others because we are waiting to get our chance to speak. However, asking questions and listening to answers shows that you are serious and interested in the other person.

Finally, if you want to have good conversations and get to know the other person(s) you have to be willing to listen first and then respond in a thoughtful way. This means that the person you are talking to has to have your attention and in your turn you want them to listen to you. It is not difficult with practice. Let your instinct guide you. Ask questions of others and answer them in your turn. 

Make It Fun

See the Outside World

It is time to rise up. COVID is going down and more people are getting their vaccine. This is the moment for action and belief. After such a long time being in our places of living we are ready to spend more time outside and to feel more connected to other people. I am not suggesting that everything is well but it is moving in that direction. So much time has being spent inside but this is the time to reacquaint yourself to the outside world. 

The beaches, mountains, and hiking are all waiting for you to get out there! The weather is getting better and March is just around the corner. I am not suggesting that we should be cliff diving (unless you know how to) but now maybe the time to get out of your home and see the real world and enjoy it. And yes, still put on your mask and observe social distance. However, make it a point to go somewhere that you haven’t gone in a while and revisit it.

In the end it really doesn’t matter. Just make it yours, make it fun, and make it worth it. Only you know what you like to do and bring a friend or friends if you want to. Enjoy!