Thursday, April 28, 2005

During WWII, the Flying Tigers were a group of US airmen stationed in India and SW China who were responsible for bombing the Japanese out of mainland China. My grandfather was a bombardier in that group.

Twice now, I've met immigrants from mainland China who, after learning that my grandfather was a Flying Tiger, reached over to me, vigorously and earnestly shook my hand, and said, multiple times, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

What a show of gratitude. What a contrast to the way we are viewed by the Europeans or the South Koreans.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Core Competency

We hear the term “core competency” thrown around a lot. I think about what my personal core competency should be so as to maximize my value to others over the long haul.

For a while now, I’ve said that “Change is the only constant,” and I think I’ve hit on what skill I am seeking to refine: Versatility.

Exactly how to do that? Maybe next entry.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I know she's young, but I've started to think about the balance between my goals and dreams for Calanit and the fact that, when all's said and done, she's got to live her own life.

I've been reading some articles recently about the pending knowledge worker battle that is happening between folks in the Western world and folks in China, India, Russia. The basic theory is that the West is getting soft on math and science. I was thinking how I'd love the Pooka to develop strengths in those areas so she can ultimately compete in the tougher job market that is invariably coming.

Of course, I know she's going to do what she's passionate about (as she should) and live her own life, but then again, I can be a positive force for her in giving her some wisdom/perspective, without making her feel like she's suffocating, right?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Calanit and I explored a very large park that is basically in our backyard. We discovered a large lake and at that point, I took her out of the stroller to let her walk around a bit and stretch her legs. At one point, as I was taking pictures of her, with the lake in the background, I saw the sun glimmering off of water at just the right angle that I couldn't help but I think I was living in an Impressionist painting. I had the emotion at that moment that those artists, I think tried to convey.

As we saw the various flowers, trees, people, dogs, and more and I rejoiced at the excitement of Calanit seeing it all for the first time, I wondered if one of the roles that kids and grandkids play is to give adults a periodic "refresh" for how we look at the world.

It seems like it is so easy to get worn down by life, get jaded, and become withdrawn, but with kids, we have the option to get fully engaged, to enrich them, and in so doing, enrich ourselves and go through our own re-birth, if you will.

Kids know nothing, formally, about competition, but parents do. We ran into a 17 month old girl who had, by comparison, a very strong vocabulary. Calanit understands a ton, but really doesn't have more than a few words she says. Mostly she points and gets what she wants. It was all I could to hold back and remember, 'every kid is different and I'm sure that Calanit is doing fine," but still, for a moment, I felt the tinge of jealousy.

On the ride back, Calanit, as if motivated by the other kid, was really trying to 'find her voice.' I have an audio if you're interested, but it was as if she was a singer warming up before a show. Very cute.

A magical weekend, made even more so by my wonderful daughter.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Life Travels

In my 20's, I was fortunate to travel to many countries around the world. I loved the thrill of a new culture and new experiences. I was confident that one of the best ways to broaden your perspective was through jaunts to faraway lands.

That may be true, but I've realized another one.

It's the travels into the depths of your soul that comes from watching your child grow; from the feelings that come about when you have quiet moments alone and there's just music playing in the background and you think about the future, but not your own, somebody else's. This journey into the land of perspective helps you empathize with others, want to make the world a better place, and to treat others with kindness.

I loved my days globetrotting, but now I'm soul-diving.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's difficult to quantify how painful it is to watch Calanit in so much pain. It's probably some equation like

Take the most emotionally challenging experience of my life...

and multiply it by about 10,000

I feel so bad for her. She's in pain, doesn't know what's going on with her or why we won't let her have some of her normal foods. She's on the mend since Monday, but still not 100% and every few hours, has a bout of intestinal gas that causes her to writhe in pain.

It's all Tamar and I can do to just hold her...and cry for our inability to do anything to help her.

Monday, April 04, 2005

When we first had Calanit, someone told us that one of the most painful things you ever experience as a parent is when you have a sick child..."the whole world stops."

Well, we made it about 16.5 months before Calanit had any really serious sickness, but yesterday and today, she's had it bad. Throwing up, diarrhea, the whole nine yards and man, it is the worst. There's not much we can do for you and we just feel terrible. It's not that we don't think she'll overcome it, we're sure she will, it's just hat we hate to see her suffering.

It's really tough to watch and what's worse is, I know we'll have many more (and probably worse) of these.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The previous owner of our house was a mechanical (or electrical, I can't remember) engineer. It was clear that he did a pretty good job of upkeep around the house and probably knew every inch of it. He prided himself on doing a lot of the maintenance work himself.

Every time I do something manual or handy, I say "the spirit of Joel Cohen lives on."

Since we moved in, we've been installing the X-10 system (or I should say, it's been installed) which allows for remote control of the lights throughout the house. Most of the work was done by our contractor.

Two weeks ago, he installed the final light (the one which enables the outside lights to go on at dusk and off at dawn-automatically-throughout the year--it's calibrated to the latitude and longitude of the house), but in doing so, he made it impossible to turn on the dining room light.

Initially, I called him to repair it, but then I thought, "hey, if I'm the captain of this ship, I've got to know how to fix it all" (and this came on top of the fact that I'd spent many hours the week before up in the attic, repairing some insulation work). I shut off the electricity, opened up the switch, diagrammed it in color, made some hypotheses, tested, and eventually enabled all 4 lights that came together there, to work perfectly.

The spirit of Joel Cohen lives on....