Mediocre Media: positive or negative? your choice.

I drove my daughter to school this morning. It is becoming more of a routine every morning between waking her up; help her to get dress, breakfast and driving time to school. I am still dragging myself around wanting to stay in bed after yet another night of little sleep. My mind is still foggy and slow going over details and preparations for school. I sometimes go through the motions in automatic mode. On our way to school, my daughter wanted to hear music. I turned on the radio searching for music, looking forward for music that it’s going to wake me up and make her dance in her car seat. I have six pre-sets on the car radio and none of them had music playing at the time. All was radio talk. I seek the channels but all I found was talk, talk, and more talk. Between moments of clarity in all the mental fogginess, I noticed without surprise that all the content was negative: news about crime, corruption, accidents and gossip. If there was a story with a positive message, it was scrutinized and easily dismissed by radio host or even the people who called in. Everybody bringing in their own opinions and prejudices to the mix that there was nothing left of the story to appreciate. What’s being heard on the radio in my opinion is mediocre, vulgar and even humiliating content. People talk about what they don’t want, complaining a lot, talking about people they don’t even know or care about and judged these without ever considering the other side of the coin. Even the listeners who called voicing their opinion get caught in the negative wave by being criticized even humiliated by their own radio talk host. I didn’t find anything interesting to hear, didn’t get the suggestive jokes radio host made and even felt uncomfortable of the silence between radio hosts not knowing what to say next or argue about. What a waste of air space, I thought; all canned media, revolting mediocrity, which leaves the listener in worst state mentally and emotionally. That mental state gets carried over to their workplace, place of business, their homes and it is projected back to other people and their environment. Some may say this type of news it’s what sells nowadays and thus making some people wealthy, but leave masses of people in growth and intellectual poverty.  That is why I chose not to listen to radio anymore. I stopped listening couple years ago when I started a low-information diet. If I choose to listen to radio, I prefer public radio stations that offer variety of quality music; they’re not commercialized by advertisements and main street media. It offers music and information that soothes the mind and stimulates the intellect.  Where the news are delivered from both sides, impartial and straightforward. What is better in my opinion is that there is a tilted balance of limited negative news that is the war, worldwide disasters, the ups and downs of all the markets, crimes and corruption, and more of stories that are positive. Wonderful things happening around the world whether is miracles, celebrations, achievements, milestones, stories of prosperity, about change, personal growth, conquering adversity, and positive actions. That’s what I am looking for, what I need to hear and public radio delivers it to me. Several times I have been caught inside my car, on my driveway, engine running, listening to touching and inspiring stories happening all over the world even in places plagued by war, crime and despair. It leaves a satisfying feeling inside me that there is more out there than what we hear or see. We have the choice to choose what we want to hear and see and no one else can make the choice for us. I choose to be different, I chose against negative, mediocre media. You too have a choice. The choice you make will have a major influence over you, your emotions, your day, your life…so is it going to be negative or positive?

Confessions of a social network addict

I am addicted to social media. I just can’t get enough. I want to be seen, share my thoughts with the whole world, encouraging ideas and of course promoting my businesses. Here I sit in front of the computer, my indispensable companion, communicating my dreams and goals, my accomplishments and frustrations through the gateway of the virtual world. I facebook my life, linkedin my business profile, squidoo my pages, feedburner my site. Who do I want to contact?, who wants to contact me? I go by many aliases: mrgman, gmanblog, gmaninspection, carmarielos, karymarielos or simply search me by my name. What to share? why not all that moves and inspires me. Tweet my thoughts? I wonder, why not…maybe I tumblr a micro blog or stumbleupon some really interesting sites. Bookmarking my favorite links is deli.ciou.us. A good article might interest you there. Let me plurk you my life as it happens, share my goals on 43things, and make new friends on youtube, my window for everything I want to know. WordPress is hot, now I can publish my blog. Write, write, write! Do I yahoo? Of course I do. You ziggs me? Why won’t you, don’t you digg it? I am going technorati to the beat of my ideas, broadcasting with others who are in agreement with me or not, is all good here. Bing, Bing! that’s the ticket to my success, right here, right now, touching lives, making a difference, feeling the gratitude, pinging my updates, posting feelings with emotions and gratitude on my virtual log for the whole world to network. Don’t judge me and spare me the politics though. Just link with me, follow me, add me as your friend, download my content, flickr my pictures. Go on network with me, just do it and google my world.

Children “under construction”

Construction is everywhere. A sign of progress, wherever I look there is something under construction, a building, roads, bridges and even human life. I am referring to our children. I love this quote I got via DailyOM and I believe it is true: “When we approach children with the awareness that they are our teachers, we become more present ourselves”. We are really students and our children our teachers. What are they teaching us? Patience, compassion, and caring for what’s important. They compel us to act with integrity, to lead by example. Yet they are just kids, they are learning from what we do and say and what are we teaching them if we cannot act like how we wish them to lead their lives? We do and act in ways that would have an effect in our children lives, but we must understand that we have to carry out certain attitudes and encourage certain personal aptitudes because the children’s mind and body are now under construction. They are not ready yet to go and take on the world by themselves. So that is why we must show them how to do it. We must show, not just tell them how to do things. They need to know what they are supposed to do, show them how to do it and more importantly why to do it. As they grow old, they will develop the reasoning to make decisions, do things that better suits them and take actions to do it by themselves, but based on the values we instill in them since early age. They are under construction and they want to let us know or put us to the test on how we can do it better, how we can help them to become what we first envision of them, our values, responsibilities, what is right and wrong so then they will be able to decide what’s best for them when they grow up. One way to do this is by asking the right questions.
I experienced a situation with my daughter where she was not doing what we ask her to do and was being disobedient and even disrespectful. Our efforts were not taking us anywhere, she was not giving in and we were having problems getting into her bedtime routine. Next morning she didn’t want to wake up and she was arriving late for school and in a bad mood. This is not what we intend to go through every night and morning, so we had to find a way to make this better. I was listening to the Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale, talking about the power of intention and the law of attraction. I decided to try an experiment with my daughter. Instead of telling my daughter what to do, I asked for what I wanted or expected to see happen the next morning with full intention. This is what I asked her:
“ Karymar, tomorrow, when I wake you up, I like you to open your eyes, look at me and with a big smile say good morning Papi and give me a hug. Then, as I help you go down your bed, I like for you to go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. I will help you to get dress, have breakfast, say see you later to your baby brother, kiss mommy goodbye and off to school early, so you can help your teacher. Will you help me Karymar; can I count on you to see this happen?” Yes Papi, she said.
Next morning, I had to go to a follow-up at the clinic and could not wake my daughter up. I kissed her and told her I love you while she slept and left. My wife texted me later, giving me the news of what I was expecting but still I was surprised to learn. I got exactly what I want it to happen! My daughter woke up on her own saying “good morning” and looking for me. I was so happy. I ask for what I wanted with intention and expected to happen. It did and we did it again that night before going to bed and the same thing the next day and plan to do it every night until…well, until it becomes permanent in her sub-conscious mind. It will need constant input and feedback. I don’t expect to work all the time as my daughter is still under construction but I won’t let go of the value of what I just experienced.

Clearly not right

On my way back from daughter’s school I observed a State Trooper vehicle cruising next to me. The driver was a young cop, probably between 20 something and 30 something. The sun was shining on his face, so I could not say for sure though I could see his sunglasses. I also saw another thing, his perceived attitude. He had a stern face, locked jaw and I wish I could have seen his eyes. I thought, Man, what on earth can be happening to this man so early in the morning? Why so serious? I perceived him as being one of those cops out there; well you know what I am talking about. Tough looking, robo- talk cop with an attitude of cockiness, walking like carrying 2 x 4 on his shoulders. The kind of person who perhaps wants to prove himself or to someone, the kind of person who perhaps joined the academy to change his self-image, to gain respect from others and authority over others by wearing a badge and barking law talk. That is my perception, my opinion at that time of what I saw and perceived through my own discrimination. I notice that as I recounted past experiences with people like this, my emotional state reacted in a negative way. I started to get angry as I remember the “injustices” I have gone through with the law. My face in a frown, my thoughts negative and I even swore. To add insult to my face, he pulled right in front of me changing lanes without using his turn signals and certainly more than the posted speed limit. This did nothing but validate my own prejudices. I said “ oh so can speed above the limit and cruise over lanes because you are the law?” For the benefit of doubt, a slim thought of being on official business ran through my mind. It was dismissed immediately since I didn’t see his vehicle flashing lights. What a double standard, I said! We couldn’t get away for a traffic violation like he just did, but he can because he is the law? In reality is a “do as I say and not as I do” policy, clearly not right. What was not right also was my mind set at that precise time. I let these thoughts control my emotions changing my mood based on my own prejudice and experiences. I needed to get clear. I realized that I slipped back into destructive thinking and that will take me nowhere I want to be. I needed to let go.

The Chronicles of Ian Karlo: circumcision affair

My son is 11 days “young” and growing faster by the minute. His skin has started to shed, his eyes now more open, tuning into his surroundings and he is on a very demanding feeding schedule to satisfy his ferocious appetite. His newborn folds on his body are starting to stretch and fill up; soon he will be so cute a cuddly to eat him with kisses. We are living every moment of his life with joy and gratitude.

Being a boy, we considered having him circumcised within the first week of his life. It is traditional in our culture for a boy to get circumcised. My parents did it, their parents and so on back, so getting my boy circumcised was the next thing to do.

We set up an appointment with the pediatric doctor and arrived early in the morning at the clinic for the procedure. We were led to a room where there was a table set up with what it looks like a bunch of odd tools. The set up resembled a torturing table I see in movies with scary looking stainless steel apparatus carefully placed on either side. My boy was then securely strapped down on the “circumstrap” contraption and given sugar on a swab. Doctor says that sugar works better than morphine for pain on babies and my son was sucking on it like it was his Mom’s bosoms and didn’t let go. Then the doctor went to work, skillfully performing a procedure that dates back hundreds of years. He used tools that really resembles primitive tools used in medieval times. My son didn’t feel a thing at first and he won’t remember this but I will. I didn’t watch the procedure, but my wife did and even took pictures…the nerve of her! I sat in a corner writing this piece, humming silly songs and occasionally glancing at the table wincing at the sight of what was happening in front of me. I’m not a good sport at these things, I admit. Luckily for my son and for me as well, the procedure was over in a matter of minutes. He will feel pain for a short time and the area needs to be cared for proper healing. I shook hands with the doctor for a job well done. It was a relief that it was all over and can side by my son comforting him. His cry was a different cry, of pain and I felt it. There, there son, is all over, I said, everything will be alright while reassuring myself that it was indeed OK. We are glad that we did it and now it is over. You won’t remember this I whisper in his ear and you will thank us later in life.

Kitchen is always open

I am amazed about how much our little one is eating but more amazed how he gets his food supply. Minutes after our baby was born, he was breastfed and to our relief he latched very well. Ah, mother’s milk; the benefits of breastfeeding are well known and the sooner it starts the better it is for the baby. Our baby eats approximately every two hours around the clock. He is an eating machine. His routine: eat, poop, sleep and repeat the cycle. We as parents have also a routine for his care. My job is simple: care and maintenance of the baby after he gets fed. Yes, I do the dirty work, cleaning after my son. My wife’s job is to feed him and although it makes look like a simple task, it is an amazing thing to watch. The baby cries, I pick him up, pass it to his mom and the events unfold into something like this:

Mommy: “what’s up my prince? Are you hungry? Well, come to mama my precious, the kitchen is always open for you. You go ahead and eat all you want. This is all for you and there is lots of it. Come on, open wide, that’s right. Eat my love…uh uh, slow down papi or you’re going to choke”

The feeding goes for 20 minutes on one side and then it’s on to the other reservoir of mother’s milk for another 20 minutes or until he is full. We know when he is full when one of his arms raises up like a lever, signaling that his belly is full of the good stuff. He goes into automatic sleep mode, it is handed over to me after burping to change his diaper and then he is placed in his bassinette which is right next to my side of the bed. Almost every time he comes back for seconds as soon as he is laid down which the kitchen is always glad to take back. Mommy’s food supplies gets stimulated every time she breastfeed and if the baby won’t eat the breast gets engorged and need to be pumped before it gets too painful. Luckily for her, her little eating machine is always craving for more, so the process starts all over again: “welcome back my little man, coming back for more? Well come on over, the kitchen is always open for you, yes sir…. Mami is going to take care of you, your table is waiting”

Effectiveness and Efficiency: running a business like a well-oiled machine

Went to the VA clinic for a follow up on my physical on a brisk, clear morning.  The sun was rising and the place look rather empty. Walking in, coffee cup in hand, I received my first greeting of the day. This was quite a contrast from the last time I was here in which no one greeted me and I decided to greet people instead. She said “good morning” with a smile and I replied gracefully bowing slightly almost touching the tip of my hat like a courteous gentleman just that I was not wearing a  hat at all.  I arrived early at the doctor’s office, only two men where there at that time.  No one was at the desk; the room was quiet and dimmed. I sat there sipping my java and scanning the area. A sign on the clerk’s desk read: ask me 3 questions to better serve you.

1- What is the main problem?
2- What do I need to do?
3- Why is it important for me to do this?

Coffee was slowly kicking in my senses; my brain, slow due to lack of sleep these past days was being activated. My eyes were captivated by this sign instantly.  It was simple and to the point, being specific to focus on the real purpose of the patient’s visit at this clinic. A way to weed out irrelevant issues so to better use of the resources available for the patient’s benefit, very efficient. I thought this could also be applied in real life, in just about any situation that requires decision making and problem solving. Asking the right questions whenever we need an answer followed by an action plan. Just change the questions to fit the situation.

Another sign read: “be wise; always review your medication, keep it current and keep it with you. Be wise-be safe”. This one in particular refers to medication. It ask the patient to always review your medication to  avoid life threatening mistakes, keep it current for the same reason  and keep it with you so you have it when you needed. Like the other sign, this can also be practical to use as to enforce a plan or to a personal statement. It can be very effective.

I looked behind me and I saw a line of people just coming in for their appointments. There is a big red line outlining the desk area with stop signs warning people not to cross the line until called in. Since no one was at the desk yet nobody crossed that line. Everybody was making sort of a military chow line one behind the other, like dominoes lined up.   Discipline always stays with the soldier.

At exactly 30 min pass the hour, a nurse. Came out of the double doors and greeted everyone out loud with a “warm good morning”, which everybody responded back in agreement. Computers were turned on and like a fine production line, clerks started the registration process. Within 10 minutes, nurses were calling people in to be serviced. Got to love the military way of doing things. It runs like a well oiled machine.  It is effective and efficient. A top down management, procedure driven facility with the sole purpose of caring for the needs of veterans who gave their strength and courage for the country.
A clerk asked “may I help you” and one person said “Yes, do you have a million dollars?” everyone laugh. I felt a real difference on this visit and it came from the staff with an approach that I wish to see more in any business, particularly in health care. I was not cared like a number, but as a human being with needs and these needs was important for the staff. They’re in for business of course, like any other business, but caring for what is most important. I feel grateful and appreciative for the treatment and attention I receive and ever proud to have served my country.

Conversations with God

I had another rough start in the morning after a night of limited sleep, caring for our newborn baby. Our daughter went to bed late last night excited about her little brother and I woke her up late for school. She didn’t want to wake up and when she did, she was not herself. Little bells started to ring in my mind, but I was groggy from the lack of sleep that I didn’t pay any attention of the warning signs. I just wanted her to obey and do what I asked her to do so we could go on and take her to school. She didn’t budge. In fact, she became defiant and anything I ask her to do, she would reply with a resounding NO! I was losing my patience, getting really frustrated and irritated with the whole situation. Her mom had to intervene which carries its own consequences and merits for both of us. I told her I had to leave the house to cool off and get my head straight.

So I drove off, furious, cursing the living days of my life. Nothing would calm me down. My breathing was jagged, my thoughts racing. I fell off the wagon; I became a victim of my own circumstances. I wanted to cry out of frustration. I was tired, not thinking straight. All I could do was to ask God for help. I sobbed recounting the events out loud and after what it seemed a long time, I slowly started to calm down. Then there was nothing but silence and the roar of the car’s engine.

Suddenly, my phone rings. It was my Sister and I told her what had happened. She listened intently and we continued talking. Our conversation turned into many subjects not only related to the current problem, but about everything as a whole. In truth we had a wonderful conversation going over many subjects of family, relationships and life.  She made my day and the previous events that had made me sad and hopeless just seemed so small, almost insignificant. I am so glad we talked and wish I could have shut up and listen more of what she had to say. There was so much to talk about.

I came home, feeling much better. My daughter was grounded in her room and she had fallen asleep. I got on with my day and went to my office to do some writing. I get messages through my social media and reading one application called “God wants you to know” I read: “that there are no accidents. What you think of as accidents are simply your conversations with God that you haven’t yet been able to understand. But take heart, all happens in God’s will and every conversation has deep meaning for you”.  I sat back and smiled thinking that God was already in motion; He was listing to me when I cried for help and He sent my Sister to my aid. Thank you God for listening and thank you dear Sister for being his instrument. Love you all!

The Chronicles on Ian Karlo- family of four

4-19-2010, 1:00 PM –Home

Time doesn’t seem to matter when you’re staying in the hospital. I knew whether it was daytime or night looking outside, but never the time of the day.  Being at the hospital is like being in a different world, not ruled by time. We had no other choice but to wait though not long for anything we needed. The nurses waltz in and out of our room poking, checking stats, bringing food, taking food, checking, reading stats, and poking some more. All like clockwork, but didn’t feel like we were on a timed schedule. We just felt like floating in time while everything ell fell in its place. Sleeping on the couch was like entering the twilight zone. Nothing made sense while “sleeping” on the couch; tiredness and waking up invariably to check on the baby plus the inability to breathe well because of my allergies was too overwhelming for me. In one occasion, I woke up because I thought I heard the baby cry and stood up next to Marie’s bed ready to pick up Ian Karlo and move it to his crib not realizing he was already in his crib. In another occasion, probably the same night, the same event happened backwards. Somehow I moved Ian Karlo from his crib to Marie’s bed and vice versa without realizing what I was doing. Thank God I didn’t get to change his diaper or I would have done something terrible.  However bizarre we spent our time here at this hospital, the service and care has been superb, first class. I commend the nurses who cared for us and all the nurses in this line of service for the commitment of service and care for the patient. I think anyone can do just about any job on the face of this earth but there are a few out there that require a special something extra from the person doing it and nursing is very much one of them. I think of dedication, compassion and higher level of professionalism because it attends to people who are in need of care and in this profession there are no reservations.

At last morning came on I was happy, not only because it was the day to take Ian Karlo home, but I was saying goodbye to the infamous couch for good! I left for home earlier to prepare the house for Ian Karlo’s welcoming. When I left the house I took a deep breath before walking out, knowing that this is the last time this household will look like this or smell like this. When we come back, we are a family of four. Got to the hospital and it was time to say goodbye. We said our thanks, shaking hands profusely with the nurses and starting the procession. There was the grandmothers, the aunt, the cousin; Marie rising on the wheel chair with Karymar perched on her lap. I was leading ahead carrying my son in his royal car seat.

I take the same, familiar way home all the time. The hospital is conveniently located minutes from home. Nevertheless, this time felt special riding home as a family…of four. Looking in the rear view mirror I saw my daughter, her eyes with a sparkle, my wife, the Mother of my children and our baby, the little brother, heir of the family last name for yet another generation, my son rising in center. Finally we arrived home and settle. We celebrated Ian Karlo’s birth and home coming with the family for a few hours, and then we rested for the night aware that it was going to be a start of another episode in our lives’ journey, one of many, but now as a family….of four.

The Chronicles of Ian Karlo- birth day

April 16, 2010 10:11 PM Health Central Hospital, Ocoee

Today was the day, time was up, the bacon was cooked, time for the baby to come out. We arrived at the hospital at 11 AM, immediately got through admissions and before noon Marie was accommodated in her prep room, preparing for the procedure. The staff was incredibly attentive and made us feel comfortable in an instant. It was all about us and they were making sure we were taken care of.  Prep time over, now waiting for Doctor Orrego to arrive and we waited and waited.  Being late appeared to be one of the good Doctor’s signatures, but as they said, the doctor is never late. I imagined him arriving at the last minute from playing golf. I pictured the man walking in his golf attire handing his club and cap to the nurse while removing his gloves and shouting instructions to the nurses. “Ladies and gentlemen we have a baby to deliver” he added, let’s get to work! When I really saw him he was wearing his scrubs ready to go. It was approximately 1:30 PM, Showtime! I was ready, wearing my very own blue suit required to enter into the “exclusive” operating room.  Marie was moved earlier to the OR and when I was called to go in, I was both anxious and super excited.

I entered the room and the doctors were already in motion. There were several nurses and anesthesiologist, doctor and his assistant and a Asian old nurse who I call “Mr. Nagasaki”  I was told to sit down on a stool next to Marie. We could not see what was going on below Marie’s neck. I do not like be in this room and Marie noticed almost immediately. The smell, the noise of the machines and the sterile environment made me feel cold and a bit apprehensive.  I was just breathing normally, focusing on Marie and the moment. The it came the distinctive smell of flesh, burnt flesh. To make the opening, a tool is used to cauterize the incision as it cuts hence the smell of burnt flesh. Oh boy, I felt queasy but held my ground. I didn’t want to miss this for anything smelly or not! I looked at my wife at her. She couldn’t see my face because of the mask so we looked eye to eye. I smiled, she smiled. I told her that I loved her despite of all the things we’ve been trough before. We have been through tough times throughout the pregnancy and said things we shouldn’t, but is all hogwash, this is the moment we have been waiting for so long and we have to stay together as one.

Suddenly, the anesthesiologist said “get your camera ready man” and I, fumbling, had three in my pockets. One for still pics, my iPhone and my slim video camera just in case I can sneak a video clip.  Well are you ready to take the picture “Mr. Nagasaki” said and he grabbed one of my cameras as I use my phone to capture this memorable moment.  Ian Karlo came to this work at 1:54 PM weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces and measuring 19 and half inches. The moment I saw him, big thanks and a blessing were sent to the heavens. I saw his little head coming out of his mom’s belly and didn’t feel anything repulsive but marvel at the sight of nature in the making.  Immediately another group of nurses were in charge of the cleaning process, probing my boy with instruments and suction bulbs.  I took even more pictures of the ordeal and I could take that my boy was not enjoying it at all. Finally the nurse bundle up my son and gave it to me. I held him and was filled with joy, alive and happy. I then showed to Marie and we got close together while the nurses snapped pictures at us, capturing this moment. I was very thankful for that.

The nurses ordered me to leave so they can finish Marie, snipping some tubes and closing the baby factory for good. I moved to another room with the baby and a nurse. She then took the job of bathing my boy and running critical tests to screen birth defects and other illnesses. She was very knowledgeable and compassionate with us. She understood how important it is to me regardless how many times she had done it before. I am very appreciative for what she and all the nurse staff did for us during those special moments.  She gave me my son and I held him tight against me, my daddy instinct came back instantly and I knew how to hold this wonderful yet tiny bundle of joy without freaking out. I spent some quality time alone with him while Marie was brought out of the OR. She then held the baby and immediately went to feed him. He was hungry. We were happy to see that he latched very well.

I left my wife and son in the room and came out to see the rest of the family. I quickly sent my updates to all my social media networks, keeping family members and friends informed.  Everybody was so happy to see our baby boy. Karymar was beside herself when she saw her baby brother. She touched him and gave him a kiss on his head. “Ian Karlo” she said and we could see in her face the amazement of being in the presence of this miracle. The rest of the afternoon developed in more family visiting, nurses running tests, checking on Mommy as the day turned into night.  I was to stay with Marie to help with the baby through his first night. My first change of diaper was at 10:41 PM. First time I change him out of many, maybe hundreds times to come, who knows. The little man eats like a king, every hour and a half so it is going to be a busy, long night. Well one of many, many more to come and so it begins…