Generally, when I want to get laughs, I will say something like that. It is not something I relish sitting down and diving into.
After thinking this over for the little essay here, I would say that I am a realist.
Some have broken wit on me telling me that I am “negative” or a “cup half full” kind of person.
If given the chance, my thinking when I say “realist” is that I strive to find solutions. Striving to face problems, whether positive or negative and to be prepared. I have definitely been caught off guard many times. I just do not care for it. I do not consider it a pleasant way to spend my day, waiting in the rain for a tow truck to bring me fuel when all I needed to do was simply check the gas reader, and if it is broken, have it fixed!
I enjoy people from different backgrounds and cultures, always learn something new! After all, isn't that the “spice of life”?
As a youth growing up in Alaska, the “last frontier”. We had people from ALL over the world.
At school, I noticed incidents, sometimes was the target, and sometimes tried to stop different incidents that were happening that were focused on the differences of kids, one from another. Very typical for kids. Unfortunately.
During my school years, I developed a form of mental escape or shelter room. I learned later that this technique has wide implications and a long history in Asian culture. Something I found interesting. It can help maintain a great “poker” face! (Not perfect, still working on it!) But for my reasons, I developed this strategy because of the school situation and just not wanting to bring what was happening there home.
Gradually, my parents did learn more of what was happening to me at school and why I was getting so sick every week. Their being brought in on the situation, by counselors, and gradually by me, helped me in the learning process of how to handle things.
Unfortunately, school and I really did not get on well. And hated the mornings, while I loved learning new things the chosen classes did not seem to quite apply to life…and the constant worry with fellow students had me constantly distracted. Finally, my father's health required an extended out-of-state trip and my family gave me the choice to switch to school by mail, and that way we could all stay together. I naturally decided to the latter. ….which of course led to the finale of a GED.
School thru the mail with so many demands on a young mind just was not a strategy to succeed, for many. I did love to read. And continued to read many different things and researched a number of topics.
While I did encounter a number of very harsh realities in the school environment, I also found a lot of freedom wandering the woods when out of school. This scared my parents badly because of bears, wolves, and moose that could easily take down a child/young adult.
At one time, they purchased me a Blue Heeler, a form of cattle dog, when I was 15. He was older. And while I did not feel like we were truly simpatico, he was my bud and went everywhere with me. And I did know whatever I might encounter, he would have my back.
I had tested him out by quietly climbing up on the roof of our barn. I was SURE he could NEVER get up there, even if he figured out where I was. Well, he did find me up there, and found a root cellar several feet away, jumped from the cellar to the roof of the barn, and proudly trotted up to me and sat down. I just sat there with my mouth open, completely shocked!
We tried a couple of different dog training methods together because he was such a smart dog and needed consistent exercise and focus. So we tried skijoring. THAT did not work. We tried sheep herding since my mother was a fiber artist and it would be helpful to manage the sheep on the property if we had a trained dog…that did not work either. He was too aggressive, cattle were his speed, not sheep. So had to give that up.
In the meantime, I learned how to do some basic sheep shearing and toyed with the idea for a bit of going to Australia to learn to do that professionally since there was a need for it in Alaska. But, I did not have the strength for that or the brute grit…to be honest. Also, I was able to shear all the sheep my mother had except the ram, I asked her to get a pro from that guy. He was huge and had a set of horns I did not care to get nailed with. …watched the man shear him and THAT was amazing. He made it look SO easy. I just smiled at the skinny-looking sheep that timidly trotted off and earlier had given me the “I'll knock you over the fence” glare.
As life progressed, my father's health continued to worsen, we eventually became aware of why he was extremely ill and it was clear he was going downhill. I remember one time I walked down the hallway of our home and he was just sitting on the side of the bed. He was such an active person I knew something was very wrong. Found out later he had terminal cancer, with a diagnosis of only 2 months. He was gone in 3.
My grandfather helped us out so much during that time because he arranged for hospice care at our home, as my father did not want to die in a hospital. So, everything went very calmly and peacefully.
By that time, my life seemed completely shattered. I was in my late teens. And had not been able to finish high school. Things felt quite grim.
So, now things were at this point, we took a little time getting affairs in order to decide what to do. I took some ballroom dance classes as a way to break the mental cycle and get out of the house. And a friend who was a teacher told my mother a piece of golden advice for me: when we got settled, for me to just get my GED and an Associate's degree.
It had troubled me that I had not completed high school…but I really could not see approaching 20 and going back to all that again. So her suggestion was a very welcome one.
When we completed our move, I investigated different choices and settled on programming. I had loved computers and technology and loved solving puzzles.
There I met some fascinating fellow students and teachers. One teacher really disturbed me…and I believe I likewise disturbed him because I do not think he had expected the reaction he got! He had kept prying trying to get me to open up…well. I had just lost my father and had all those years of bottled-up hurt from the school experiences…I completely fell apart. THE most humiliating experience of my life!! Needless to say, will NOT be repeating that!!
Another teacher was such a gentleman, so kind, and understood how important it was to me to really do well and understand what I was doing…to be ready to make a living with what I was learning. So he drilled me hard. He then recommended that I go on to their sister school in Lexington, a Community College for the rest of my program. I went to the school, an hour's drive from our new home in Kings Mountain, Kentucky. Talked to the director and explained to him my goals. He turned out to be one of my instructors and followed the same program, drilling me so hard that some of my fellow students complained that he was being “mean” to me. I had to tell them that “no”, he was doing as I had asked and was just giving me hard assignments and being “tough” to be sure I got out of the class what I needed to know.
I also took classes in English literature and chose for the elective course to take a parallel history course from the time period with the English lit. To better understand some of where the writers were choosing their topics from. It was absolutely wonderful…I had NEVER enjoyed school until then. The teachers were amazing, my fellow students were so much fun. I truly began to become more self-confident and felt like I had some value again as a person.
When I started life in the working world, that self-confidence got tested to the extreme with my first job. I had an older co-worker throw a boxed device at me. And instead of providing the help she was scheduled to provide, told me “you figure it out!”
I learned a lot on that job. I learned to network with some amazing engineers online who really helped me finish the areas that were out of my scope. Also, the junior manager pulled me aside as I was leaving for my next job and offered one more golden piece of advice, to “communicate more”. I truly appreciated her words like gemstones. They have truly proven to be such through my career till now!
At my next job, we did a lot of meetings, worked with Oracle Reports and Forms, and put together a number of reports and different letters and e-mails for the meetings and different inner office communications. I was first introduced to Oracle and a product called Toad there. They had a “game” room and we had a marvelous time together with a dartboard and Fussball table. And I enjoyed the society of several fellows who decided on some racing movies since we were all fans.
My next job was at the University of Eastern Kentucky. That was my favorite. They were very relaxed and easygoing. There I supported different staff areas, provided some Excel support, and reports development. My favorite was one where I threw in some HTML to help highlight some text areas. There I was first introduced to Pivot tables.
After that, I decided to try and make a go of it independently. I started with becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor. Tried a variety of odd jobs related to development and reports, and finally worked briefly for UPS.
A friend suggested that I take a look at massage therapy. So I drove an hour, one way, to a school in Lexington and completed their 9 month accredited course in Massage Therapy. I used my skills in programming and set up my website and thought, “Ok! Now I can make a living!!”
I found a local hair salon, in Stanford, Kentucky that rented a room to me for $100 per week. And I advertised in the newspaper, and went to the BBB,…I ran an ad in the Danville newspaper and the Stanford newspaper took out some online ads that brought business from as far away as Lexington…people were asking me what I was doing that far out of town!!
And I learned! I moved! I came to Greenville! Loved it here!! I started in Greenville with Massage Therapy, first at a couple of different spas, then at a local hospital.
During that time, I took a job in medical records. Both with the medical records and with the massage therapy program…in different levels, we use Epic. Of course, with the medical records, a lot of work was transferred electronically and then printed out on the other end. So, for that work, I did work with a variety of applications and machines within the offices to accomplish the needed tasks. It really was a fascinating job to work with and to be of help to people in need for a variety of conditions and situations.
Now, working with blogging and having taken courses in Python, Excel, Pivot Tables, and moving forward with writing, I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with technology, business, and research. I have learned so much over the years and while I am still learning and developing my understanding in areas, I am looking forward to sharing the journey!
Thank you so much for tuning in!