Monday, August 9, 2010

Plant a seed, watch it grow...

The other night our oldest nephew came into our bedroom to show us a paper that came in the mail. It was a letter from UH Manoa saying he was officially and fully admitted, and ready to register in about 10 days. He was very proud of this, and he should be (and so are my wife and I). You see when he came to live with us, just before his 14th birthday, he was not the kind of kid who you would think would be headed to college. In fact you may even have doubted he would graduate high school. And if you were him…in a moment or rare vulnerability he revealed, you would have thought he would never have lived to see his high school graduation. The why and what happened are private…but let’s just say he was not headed in a good direction.

So what happened? He made a decision to change the course of his life. It was all from HIM. He did it all on his own. What was different? My wife and I gave him something his life has lacked, and that was stability. A home he would always be able to go back to, a fridge with (real) food that did not go empty, and an environment with positive values and goals. You see I believe that those “troubled kids” are often that way because they don’t have an opportunity to make better choices. Nature vs. Nurture? That’s a long standing debate, for me it’s clear, given a shot at better circumstances those kids can & will begin to make better choices. When a kid has a bed of his own, food in his belly, and no worries about “bad guys” coming in the night, he can worry about grades. He can worry about a future. He can worry about what people think of him. He can dream, he can achieve, he can grow, and he can prosper.

I don’t deny that my wife and I have helped…but I’m telling you, nothing would have happened without him deciding to do it.

I was especially proud of him when I saw the letter from the university. I always thought he had the brains to get there, and I also thought that he wanted to go. What was important to me is that he did it himself. There were bumps with paperwork & other financial aide things and he handled them himself. Once was a time were he would cave at the first sign of difficulty. Not here, not now. The self esteem and self belief that he deserved to make a better life drove him to overcome. From “I don’t give a sh*t” to “I can do it”. If that isn’t growth, I don’t know what is.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Catching Up...

It's been a long time since I last posted and I thought I had better do so now or I may never get back to it. So here I is...

The black cloud of the Hawaiian economy has really put a pinch and a small panic on my little corner of it. I'm having to do things I never had to before, and I'm trying new things to keep things positive. Challenges, challenges, but we are hanging in there.

A former co-worker's (ex?) boyfriend left a rambling in comprehensible message on the phone system. Was it venting or a threat? Who could tell? Drugs are sooooo f*cking glamorous...

The battle of the bulge has been a real mother...just as I was getting back on track...I came down with bursitis in my knee. I am impatient as hell waiting for it to heal, especially as it seems to have triggered a hunger I haven't had in a long, long time.

I've brewed two more beers since last time. A Imperial India Pale Ale (featured at and a simple pale ale. After the high gravity hop bomb of the IIPA I thought a more sessionable pale ale made sense. Next up will be a Belgian Wit beer or a robust porter with some chocolate & coconut additions. The pale ale will be aged by the 18th of August and the IIPA will be ready on Sept 2, just in time for the UH home opener vs. USC. I tasted the IIPA after a month of bottle conditioning and it was VERY promising. If the flavor stays the same and it just smooths may well end up replacing the hefe as my favorite beer I've made...stay tuned.

My son finished pre-school on Friday, and he begins the entry to Kindergarten on Tuesday. His only school time this week is a few hours on Tuesday. Then next week he'll be there on Tuesday & Wednesday for half days before finally having a full day on Thursday. Since he is no longer enrolled in pre-school, we do not have day care. So what do I do? I will be taking him to work with me for most on the next week and a half (as well as missing a bunch of work)...ugh. Thank God this is only for Kindergarten...if every school year started like this...yikes!

Our older nephew starts at UH Manoa in a couple weeks. It's gonna be a real shock to him, especially as he's done a lifetime of "having fun" this summer. Hope the memories last because he's about to learn the real meaning of work (he has no earthly idea!). His brother can't have him gone soon enough since it means he moves into his brother's room (after sharing a room with our son for 3 years).

I am waaaaaay too focused on my November vacation. Can't help it...I'm ready for a break from the constant stress and demands on me. Can't we go next week instead?