Thursday, December 18, 2008

Helping Out With a Dream

In September, our dear friend Lisa invited Dave and I to attend the annual 'I Have a Dream' luncheon. Well, she invited us and our checkbook. Lisa will read that and probably gasp a bit because it may come across as we were invited for our checkbook. In reality, I believe she invited us because we like to support our friends and their passions and because we have expressed a genuine interest in learning more about I Have a Dream.

I Have a Dream is a national non-profit that adopts entire classes of low-income 2nd grade students and supports them through their primary and secondary education years. Each student who successfully graduates from high school has the opportunity to further their education through vocational training, college, or university. The Boulder Chapter has grown from humble part-time beginnings 12 years ago to a fully staffed operation that recently celebrated the Grand Opening of a new Community Center.

The luncheon was a moving experience as Dreamers shared real life stories of the difference the program makes for them and their families everyday. Board members, donors and volunteers shared the rewards of contributing to the life of a child as they overcome challenges to reach the goal of an education and make the dream of a career a reality.

We chose then and there to support this life changing program and look forward to becoming more involved in the coming year. There is sure to be another post down the road, but if you want to learn more today, check out the Boulder County I Have a Dream website here.

"Dreamers are taught at an early age that college is possible for them. As they mature, they receive extensive career and college preparation guidance, visit campuses, and are assisted through the application process." - excerpt from "About Us" on the Boulder County I Have a Dream website

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Choice of a Car

I grew up in an American car family. My Dad was raised in rural Virginia where the American car is king. We come from a long line of coal miners and back in the day the dream car was a Lincoln Continental. My Mamaw wanted one in the worst way. Funny since she did not drive. She road instead in a short bed Chevy pickup, with a side step.

Even when we lived in Germany, it was an American car that tooled us around the country as we explored places my Daddy had been stationed on earlier tours and discovered new places for us all. I couldn't tell you the model, but the car was a white hatchback and most certainly a GM product.

In later years when we became a two car family, it was two GM vehicles that filled our driveway. My Dad would buy a new ride every three years. Sometimes a Chevy, sometimes an Olds, sometimes a Pontiac. But, always a GM. Well, there was that short time that we had a Ford Courier pickup, but that is another story.

The first car I called my very own was a GM too. It was Pontiac Sunbird held together with duct tape. It had no air conditioning (we lived in Florida) and broke down at the most inconvenient times, but it had a great radio and it was mine. There was one other used Chevy Ciatation that periodically stopped in intersections. Not stalled, but died all together. That created some interesting moments for a nineteen year old girl. Then, I had a steady job with good pay and my very first new car was about to become a reality. Dad and I looked in the car lots on Thanksgiving day and decided on a beautiful Blue Pontiac Grand Am. It had it awesome sound system, power windows, and it was stylin'.

It could have been a long love affair between my first new car and I, but just shy of the warranty expiration my mechanic friend tells me that I better find a shop I like doing business with because this car has trouble coming.

Then, I bailed. I walked away from family tradition. I bought a Mazda. Dad was not happy and jokingly told me that my car was not welcome in his driveway. But that Mazda, I had it for 10 years. And, it never let me down. Ever.

And, my Dad stayed true to GM. To him the General Motors cars stood for something. The pride America once had in making a product that was the best. That met the market needs. That created an image and a lifestyle that he was proud to be a part of.

Just last year Mom traded in the last car he bought her before his passing. I think she would have liked to buy American, but she needed a reliable, high gas mileage car that would last for more than Dad's three year cycle. In her garage is a Honda Civic. She loves it. And it will be on the road for years.

The American car companies are in trouble. There are many reasons this is the case. In my view it is largely because they are not meeting market needs, they are not setting trends, and they are not making cars that will last on the road for ten years with little effort. They have forgotten that we consumers do have a choice about what we buy, even if we do not have a choice about who we bailout.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Changing The Name

Earlier this year I kicked off my blog and have experienced the on again, off again posting phenomenon that other 'non-professional' bloggers comment on.

Blogging, Twittering, and Facebooking have little to do with my current place in the professional world. I participate in the Social Media world as a way to educate myself on these trends. After all, who knows when there might be a use in my workaday world for what I learn. There is also an interest to have awareness of what is developing in our Boulder Tech Community and the industry at large. And, if I am completely honest, it is just plain fun to be have access to the vastly different views that I am not exposed to in my day to day life. There are also those moments I learn something new, or expand my knowledge on a topic that I care about.

At some point, I'd like to contribute to this knowledge share. I figure the first step is to begin to post regularly those things that hold my attention, use my brain power, or my heart power. It may be only me that reads these posts. That's fine. Probably preferred. That way I can cultivate what this blog will be without an audience to impress.

That brings me to the name change. Just yesterday, as I am thinking about this, I pop out to my blog. Except I don't type it just right and I end up on a pretty explicit porn site.

Ack! was my first response. Then, holy shi*!*!*. What if my Mom makes the same mistake when visiting my blog. What if my friends do. What if someone I know professionally stumbles upon the site. So, there ya have it. The reason for the move to the new blog name that is a little less imaginative than the norm. It is after all, just my name. But, hey, no matter how my life, experiences, profession, or person evolve, it will always apply. And, I think it is a pretty safe site url to keep those I care about from making an unexpected visit to a porn site.