Monday, September 26, 2005

AHH Football Season - I love fall

It's been another great weekend for Fighting Irish fans. The Irish beat Washington and the Martinez household was happy again!

When you add my son's excitement about Dallas beating the 49er's yesterday, all is well. He didn't have such great weekend last week. Not only had the Irish lost a heartbreaker to the Spartans in overtime, but then the Redskins beat his Cowboys on Monday night.

I was actually smiling as I wrote that. You see, I am a born and bread Redskins fan. Living in Dallas, is of course, very hard for me. When you add that my in laws, my husband and my kids all cheer for the Cowboys...Let's just say the drought of the last ten years has been tough. Of course, I've have stayed loyal!

So, in the spirit of the game last week, Alex and I bet on the game. It was a big and important bet. If the Redskins won, Alex had to buy me a piece of candy. If the Cowboys had won, I was to buy him a piece of candy.

Yesterday, I got my candy. We were at Northpark mall and hit the Godiva store. Man, that Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle was absolutely fantastic. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!

Poor Alex, I know he's only six. But, he honored his bet like a man of character. And, his Cowboys won yesterday afternoon. I am very proud of him. He's a good kid.

Remember, Go Irish, Beat Boilermakers!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

India - Delayed but finally!

I am home. I have recovered from jet lag and the cold I caught while there.

When I last posted, I had not yet worked with the AIESEC students. I survived it.

I was partnered with Farhan from Pakistan. He was a great partner. Together, we realized we both talk fast. We also realized that our shared MBA experiences made the material seem easier to teach than it actually was.

The AIESEC group is demanding. They are the idealistic young people we all probably were at the age of 21. Their standards are high. They believe they will change the world, instead of the world changing them. I believe there are some in the group of 550 who will maintain their energy and focus, so that they do change the world. I was reminded of my former self in working with them. I was reminded of the idealistic way I viewed the world, before the cynic in me was trained to believe that you must let go of things you can't control.

You may have wondered why it's taken me so long to finish my post. I could cite many reasons, like my busy schedule or writer's block. In truth, though, I have used this time to really absorb my experience.

I have also thought of myself as someone who is very open to new things, people and experiences. I have always believed that I can handle any situation. As an adult, I have often been accused of being over-confident and strong, so I am rarely shaken in a work situation.

The trip to India itself was amazing. The people I met from Cadbury and ABN-AMRO were fantastic, and I will keep in touch with them. However, my experience with the AIESEC students (or at least one in particular) was not as wonderful.

First, let me explain that comment. Farhan and I had prepared for 3 days to facilitate a leadership training on the Johari window, the formation of teams, and situational leadership. We were both fairly comfortable with the material and presenting it because of work experiences. We had a group of 30 students in our class.

The room was not ideal. I am not kidding when I say it was a stage dressing room. Literally, behind the stage, with mirrors and toilets. So, it wasn't ideal. It was also very poorly ventilated. To me, it was hot. When you add that I woke up with a sore throat and fever that morning, you can imagine how well I was taking the day.

Now, add 30 students who have been partying together for the past 5 days. Most were operating on less than 5 hours of sleep. Our group had about 20 girls and 10 guys. They all spoke English, but their mastery of the language varied greatly.

Ok, so it's hot, they're tired, I feel crappy, and it's time to teach.

Luckily, Farhan was there!

We dove in the the students were responding fairly well. For the most part, I would classify them as intelligent and agressive. These kids really do want to make the world a better place. As the discussion of the Johari window progressed, many of the students wanted to focus on how to tell your leader, when they are doing a bad job. Ok, we all know that is never a fun conversation. I made a recommendation to use examples and try to lead your leader to a conclusion, especially if you don't already have a strong or previous rapport built with that leader. Then it happened.

This person (female) asked very bluntly, "Can you give me recommendation that isn't patronistic?"

I was floored. AND, I am really not used to being floored.

The first thing that came to my mind was "how rude!".
Next, "man would I love to put her in her place!"
Finally, "she's waiting for an answer...."

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me it really colored my whole India experience. This woman was American, so it's not a cultural or lack of English problem. If I worked with her, I would have pulled her aside and asked her to try not to be rude in front of others. BUT, I don't work with her. She saw nothing wrong with her question. She continued behavior like that throughout the day. She really was convinced she was the cat's meow.

Too make it worse, all of my Cadbury and ABN-AMRO colleagues had great experiences with their students. They weren't taken aback, offended or anything but impressed by the AIESEC students. That caused me to really question if the problem I had was my own, instead of the student. Was I really that closed to feedback? Was I really than unable to deal with a strong person?

Obviously, it's taken me weeks to answer that question.

So here's my answer. Rude is rude. She was rude. I am not perfect and I am not always open to feedback, but I do know you can give and receive it in a manner that doesn't close down the other person. Clearly, this woman needs to learn this skill.

AIESEC wasn't filled with people like her, but instead the other 29 students were hungry, smart, aggressive and ready to change the world. They want to make a difference and that is a very good thing. For others who get an opportunity to meet or work with people from AIESEC, remember, they are smart, agressive and trying to make this world better. I am glad I had this experience, and I am glad I can now close it.

If you haven't seen my pictures, here's a link....

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ohhh yesssssss...

Well the Irish are 2-0. Having beaten a then 22 ranked Pittsburgh team and , within the last hour, a 3rd ranked Michigan team in their home stadium. ND last won at Michigan in 1993 when I was a senior and later went on to contended for the National title. The first half of the today's game was basically the Irish continuing the same offensive plan as they had against Pittsburgh. The second half was us sitting on the ball for the most part, playing pro-style keep away. While I am none to pleased with the second half, that first half against a top 3 team was pretty good. I am liking what I am seeing from this team but they have a loooonnnggg way to go. I fear we may have lost Rhema McKnight in this game with what looked like a pretty bad knee injury. While he is typically not the X or Y receiver he has an uncanny ability to pop-up in the middle, open and with soft hands. Next up? Michigan State at home. No team is a push over, especially when they are playing Notre Dame. Michigan State will be ready to take on the Irish.

On other notes, Meghan wore her ND Cheerleader outfit to the Gamewatch we attended today to see the game. Very cute! Alex and I wore our ND football jerseys.

As I may have mentioned before Alex is a Tiger Cub Scout now and I have to work on teaching the Den cheers and chants at the next meeting which is Monday.

Lynn is back from India and has finally gotten used to the local time zone. While she did not get sick with 'Delhi Belly' she did catch a slight cold the day she returned which she is nearly over now. Check the link to see pictures.

Meghan has gone for 3 days without any accidents in her quest to master potty training. This is barring any overnight accidents which will be taught later. While this will decrease the amount we spend on Pull-Ups, the number of times we go to the bathroom with her has increased 10 fold.

Alex is doing VERY well at Kimberlin Academy and has the progress report to prove it. His reading ability is growing every day and sometimes he surprises me with the words he can read. Initially, subtraction presented some small difficulties for him but after a couple of weeks he is starting to get it.

Soccer season starts in a couple of weeks for Alex and I will be a referee again for the games. This year,however, the quarters are longer and the kids play positions.

All for now.
Go Irish! Beat Spartans!


Friday, September 02, 2005

And so it begins....

Its time again. Time for ND Football. I know I know, you are thinking, this guys is nuts. This is all he talks about, well, that and his trombone. Yea well, true, but its not just football, its Notre Dame Football. :)

As of this writing we are 1 day 8 hours from kickoff. Now a lot has been said on Charlie Weis and the hopes that he will bring back ND to the glory it once had on the national stage of collegiate football. In fact, the matchup between Pitt and ND puts two former NFL coaches against each other both with recent departures from the NFL and both having faced each other in NFL matches. Alot has been said about how Weis has altered the attitude of this ND team. Personally, I think that is the key to this season and not the win-loss record. I am pretty sure ND will not be in a BCS bowl this year. The competition is just too strong, and in reality a team can only afford one loss to get to that tier of a bowl. Thinking long-term, however, the attitude of the team and the attractiveness of the staff at ND is what will win over the future recruits. Winning the recruiting battle will be crucial to the upcoming years at ND. The wins will come, especially as Weis brings in his guys from the high school pool. The smart, athletic, nasty guys that get it done on the field. The guys that are prepared for every game, and not relying on mystique or legend to take the ball to the end zone. The guys that hit hard enough to make you see Elvis (the fat one). The guys that can celebrate in the end zone without looking like a Broadway dancer. The guys that will realize the tight-end is open in the middle since the Z-receiver dragged the MLB with him out of his zone.

On another note, the Haiku-Ninja has joined blogland and is posting what has become a new and unusual Notre Dame tradition. The football haiku. Please have a look and be entertained.