Friday, September 06, 2013

Never say Never!

I met another individual yesterday who I was so comfortable around and I feel like truly understood me and could see me transparently both strengths and weaknesses and I was not at all intimidated in his presence.

Strange thing is he was able to articulate things about me, I would not have been able to say clearer if at all.

I know I sound like a total "fanboy"  but Riot truly does have some of the most amazing people I have had to get to meet working together towards a wonderful player focused based goal.

I hope that I get a chance one day to work with people as amazing as those that Riot has gathered.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Huge fistbump goes out to Riot Games!

Something amazing is happening here in Santa Monica and, holy cow, we are apart of it.
Being on the older side of the general population of game developers and families here at Riot Games means we know what game development looks like, honeymoon period is long gone this isn't our first rodeo,things are a little bit different here and we are ALL in!

Like actually, we're in!

Riot Games and it's People program are an amazing collection of treasures I as a game developer's spouse have ever seen. Not since my days as an ARMY spouse have I seen a support system that is actively been grown and strengthened. Not only is Riot creating a very special experience for our significant others in the company culture, but they have an experience for us as families too. Kids activities, Holiday celebrations, incentive opportunities, and excursions we are apart of the picture, and not like they LET us come, like they are encourage us to dig it and participate in the planning and running of family activities. They have created a portal for us to meet online and encouraged turning that online social kindling into real world friendships with local activities and meetups.

I have been apart of some very different organizations as part of my marriage to Peet Cooper, Lead Artist at Riot Games. From the small studio environment to large corporate ones each has it's pluses and minuses, you decide what matters most to you, right? Riot Games is doing it's own thing in every way and  the results of those efforts is that Riot Games as an organization is AWESOME! They don't make you choose your career over your family, they are creating a different ways to make sure item #5 on the Riot Manifesto stays true.

Riot Games is still young as a company, so things are still fluid nothing so set in stone that when needed things can be adjusted. The pace is fast and very exciting and the product makes it easy to be proud of being apart of the Riot Games community.

The front page of the company website sums it up best:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving???

                   Many years and countless failures were all spent in my training to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving feast. The steps included in the traditional Thanksgiving included; Roasting a turkey(It should be aromatic, tender, juicy and have a crisp perfectly browned skin), hand making stuffing ( A four day process that started with cutting bread into cubes, and ends with a perfect balance of moist and dry, chewy and crunchy, and savory and sweet.) and pumpkin pies from scratch( A fresh pumpkin to begin, resulting in a butter flakey crust filled perfectly with handmade pumpkin pie filling. Baked until slightly firm and the crust sticks perfect to the edges and just browns at the very edge.) They were all just part of the lessons I went through in my family holiday meal preparation training. Little did I know the first Thanksgiving meal I would spend with my soon to be new family I was entirely unprepared for?
“Are you ready to go yet?” Patrick, my future brother in law asks. I frantically am running around grabbing things and shoving them into my purse. I am just slightly frazzled, trying to figure out how to prepare a holiday meal with only a single burner and a mini fridge. Can it be done? I ask in my head.” Almost ready.” I yell back to him. My eyes scan the room, trying to remember if there is anything else I need to grab before we go. We currently live in a one room motel room, by we I mean; Peet my boyfriend, Patrick his brother, Jackie, their Mom and Chris their Dad. Scanning the room you can see how very crowded we are. The room is about 20ftx12ft, there are 3 queen beds, 3 TV’s, one closet, 1 dresser and a mini fridge. Then there is the bathroom, which also doubles as a kitchen somewhat, it has the single burner and pan as well as the microwave. Crowded I guess was stating it mildly.
The room in my parent’s house, I left to come stay with them was half this sized and meant for only me. I had a room full of fine furniture and was not the slightest bit crowded, well at least not physically. We all make choices in life and I made mine, but it has left me in a world outside the one I know. I have gone from a world of opulence and abundance to one of necessary means.
I am fairly sure at this point I have what I need so I head out the door; being very sure I have locked it properly. Locking the door can be the difference between keeping the stuff you own and giving it away to whomever happens to try your door knob. There is absolutely no sense of community in a rundown motel where people live instead of stay a few nights.
Patrick and I head out to gather what we can for three of us to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Jackie has to work and Chris in uninterested in being part of a family meal. So it is just us three, to be honest Peet and Patrick are only going along with this to try and be nice to me, they could careless as well about Thanksgiving. I guess it can be hard in times of discontent to find things to be thankful for, but for me it is tradition. I think it is one they will appreciate; every situation has something to be thankful for.
Peet is working and we want to get things together while he is at work. I put together a list of modified items that I think I can pull off with the microwave and burner, but am still trying to figure out how to manage turkey properly.
“Wow, there are a lot of people here.” says Patrick. I say, “Welcome to grocery shopping on Thanksgiving.” Grocery shopping on Thanksgiving is never fun, especially when you are trying to buy the same things everyone else is trying to buy. “Ok, so we have a handful of items to buy and only so much $$$, let’s do this”, I mumble to myself. I have never had to combine so many restrictions into one meal, we have what I want to make, then there is what I can actually make given the available facilities and then there is what I can afford to buy and can possibly make. My head is spinning, running combinations through, my head, ranking importance of yams, to corn in comparison to macaroni and then stuffing. Patrick asks,” Are you sure this is really worth all the drama to you? We can just go to Taco Bell.”
“I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but I am sure. Can you grab the last gravy can over there?” I say. As if moving a herd of cows through mud, we make our way across the grocery store, slowly. After running all the combinations through my head and grabbing items through angry crowds, I think I am done. We head to the registers to pay. We are bombarded at the register by donation opportunities, donate to this and donate to that. We finally are walking through the sliding glass doors out of the store.
“I don’t think I will ever understand the fuss over Holiday meals.” Says Patrick,” It is just one meal.” I feel bad knowing I will be struggling to pull off this meal at all, and it will be nowhere close to what I am capable of producing given facilities and budget I could do much better, but I don’t want to point that out so I simply say,” Taking time out of the rush of life, to spend time preparing food together and then sitting around eating it together, give people a chance to enjoy one another’s company and appreciate each other’s help. I appreciate you coming with me shopping, we got to hang out and do something different.”
We get back to the motel after walking the 2 miles back from the store. We both start taking items out and trying to arrange what needs to be refrigerated in the mini fridge. We get all the ingredients sorted out, but something in my head is standing out as missing. I am unable to figure out what though.
Peet gets back from work and walks in the door, “Is the food ready?”
“I don’t know are you done cooking it?” I say back to him.
“Ha, Ha, Ha” he says. He starts looking through all the treasures we gathered at the store earlier. He looks up at me and says,” I don’t see any Turkey.”
“That’s what missing, I thought something was missing when we were putting stuff away, but couldn’t figure out what.” I state.
Peet jumps up, “Let me change and we will go get some.” I begin to panic a little though while he is getting dressed. It is now 2:00pm on Thanksgiving; most of the stores are probably closed. Patrick says he doesn’t want to go back out one trip was enough for him, but Peet talks him into joining our adventure.
We head out once again, but this time on a mission, to find turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We head back to the area Patrick and I were in earlier but the two major grocery stores there are already closed. So we decide to try a few of the smaller markets we know around town and see if we have any luck.
3 little markets later things are not looking so good; we are not sure where to check next. We begin to start to head back home on the brink of giving up and we see a small deli, so we decide to check it out. We are luck they have turkey, well turkey lunchmeat style, it will have to do. Rejoicing in our find, Peet is skipping down the street overjoyed. I am not so sure about how a block of unsliced lunchmeat will go with Thanksgiving, but Peet is a great example of how to take pleasure in the small things. Our mission was accomplished, so we head home.
The meal prepared and partaken of that day was by no means the best I have ever had, but the day it’s self the memories and the lessons learned, make that Thanksgiving one of the more important ones I have had so far. Thanksgiving used to mean elaborate meals and decorations, that day taught me I was only opening myself up to part of the reason for the day. Experiencing Thanksgiving in the life of another social class is a wonderful opportunity to see what really matters about how you celebrate and what is just fluff. I still prepare a big elaborate meal every year, but now we invite over all the new folks or those without a place to go and we meet new people as well as bond with those we already love. That day started a new tradition changing the focus of the holiday from the meal to the people.

The Breaking Point

        “Mrs. Cooper, is that right? I am sorry but you are going to have to stay, there seems to be a problem.” My eyes and head swing in an upward motion in a smooth single glide. The target of my eyes is a doctor I do not recognize but he seems to have read my file, at least it appears so by the way he is talking to me.
After what seems like forever another nurse comes into my room. “You need to get into a gown and we are going to get you admitted.” She says as she hurries from the room. I thought something didn’t feel right, that is after all why I came into the ER in the first place, but I had no idea.
I get into the gown and crawl up into the bed they rolled up in front of the hall door. I hate hospitals. The sheet on the bed are white like they have been bleached over and over, so many times they are wearing thin. They are also cold and rough, I hesitate to slide my leg under the sheet. The lights in the hall blaze, florescent must be the most unnatural lighting ever. You never confuse the haze of fluorescent lights for the natural glow from outside.
A nurse comes by and rolls me up to labor and delivery, 3rd floor coming up! The nurse parks me in the room and then tells me the doctor will be in to speak with me shortly, which I know means probably hours from now. Guess I will check out what is on the TV.
Funny how the angle hospital TV’s are at, forces you almost to recline, if you don’t either lie down or bring the back of the bed up, it just isn’t comfortable to watch. Almost as if they are telling you in their own little way, get comfortable you are going to be here awhile.
I look down at my phone, and think should I call him now or wait until I know more information. I don’t want to worry him and at this point in time I am not sure which will worry him less, so I start to dial.
He doesn’t answer so I have to leave a voicemail, I tell him I will call when I have more information, but all they have told me at this point is they are admitting me. Hate leaving messages with important info, but I could get dragged off for tests and not knowing when I could call again, I better tell him something now.
I try to watch TV for a while, my focus is nowhere near the television, but it is a decent distraction. Had I know I would be staying I would have brought my bag with me; it has all the magazines, Gameboy and music to listen to. I wait again what seems like hours to see someone again. They tell me they will be right with me to hook up some monitors, if I want to get up or use the restroom without machines this is my last chance for a while. I take the suggestion and go to use the restroom.
Hospital in room bathrooms look funny to me, first off they are always entirely made of tile so they are always cold. Then they have handles and pull strings, for god only knows what. Then there is the drain in the middle of the floor, something strange to me about standing in a room that is meant to be hosed down, nothing good comes to mind in thinking why they need that there, so I try to stop thinking about it entirely.
 How long ago did I call my husband, what is taking him so long I thought at the least he would call by now? I am now almost in a state of panic, I know I contain it well you could hardly tell, but I am one straw away from my back breaking.
I am currently 21, 2 weeks married, adopted with no family medical history and past 40 weeks pregnant, and I have no idea why they have kept me or what is going on? Could I get more anxious than this? I have been here for some time and nobody is telling me anything.
The next couple hours fly by, but the events relax me. My husband decides to just come over instead of calling so he is here, great to have personal company, he knows me. The monitors have been hooked up and my baby is doing fine. They are talking about inducing my labor that is time for my daughter to enter the world, my nurse tells me I am in the final hours without children that it will be soon.
The next time I see the doctor in my room he briefly goes over the plan of action, we start some meds in my IV and some on my cervix directly to get labor started, then we wait. There is no exact what of knowing how long it will take to get up to full steam baby pushing time.
In about 40 min I start to feel really crampy, the doctor checks and labor has begun, slowly but it has started. My pulse starts to race at this news, am I ready? Have I done everything I could to prepare? I am so nervous to be a new mom.
A couple hours later, nothing much has changed, so my nurse suggests we go for a walk around the hospital, see if the exercise helps things along at all. So we decide to cruise the halls for about an hour. We check out a full 3 floors worth of Hospital wall art. Funny when you are just in and out of the hospital for appointments you don’t really notice how much art there really is on the wall. I am amazed at how many artists are featured and the quality of the art at the Hospital. I am happy it is here though, I am searching for good distractions, and the pain is getting worse and more frequent.
We walk, now at a slower pace, back to my room. About 15 min go by and the Doc is in to check me, I have moved forward. Good news. He tells me that he is going to order an epidural to be readied for me, so when I am ready they can administer it if I choose, sometimes the window of able to give and unable to give is very small, so he wants to be prepared.
It has been now 4 hours since I saw my Doctor and things don’t seem to be changing. The nurse comes in a tells me she doesn’t see things changing too much that I may want to try to get some sleep while I still might be able to. I try and try to find a comfortable position and just can’t. The nurse sees my rolling around and asks me where it hurts the worst, and I show her my lower back. She comments I may be having back labor and makes notes in my file.
My eyes slowly peel open to an early morning haze; I guess I did finally fall asleep for a bit. I am not awake for even 5 min before a nurse is in the room checking vitals and taking more blood. My doctor comes in and greets me, he informs me that he is now leaving and his collogue will be taking over and he introduces her to me. She takes a check of me and talks about how I have been in labor for a while now and they would like to try to speed it along. I say whatever they think is best. She tells me she will get things ordered then and we will get things moved along.
A few minutes later in comes the nurse with a new IV solution and hooks it up. She warns me that this may go very fast to hold on and go with it; my daughter is at the end of the ride. I get nervous and a little scared, but excited that it might all be over soon as well.
30 minutes later I am screaming at my husband about how he did this to me and he should have to feel how much it hurt. I am grasping at the cold hard steel rails on my bed and tearing at the crappy hospital sheets which have tangled my feet. Needless to say I am in now finally in full blown labor.
My doctor checks my and happily reports I am almost there, just a tiny bit to go on my cervix dilation and then we are good to go to push. I am anxious, nervous and excited, all the while in huge amounts of pain, horrible to manage, a pure mess. My nurse tells me she is going to call the Anesthesiologist for my epidural that it is time.
The concept of receiving an epidural in labor sounds much more ideal than it is. You take a woman in pain that has been told to breathe in funny patterns, and then you tell her to roll into ball, hold perfectly still and hold her breath, perfect execution right? Well after we got through that, the relief from pain is almost immediate but I find it very strange that even though the pain is gone I can still feel all the pressure of the contractions. I guess I have been so focused on the pain I did not notice how much the contraction are actually pushing on me.
A couple calm hours go by chatting with my hubby, playing trivia games and such. My doctor comes back to check on me. I can tell by her face she is beginning to get concerned that I have not finished my dilation of my cervix yet. She tries to manipulate it slightly, but unsuccessfully. She then informs me that she is willing to try and let me wait another few hours but if nothing happens we are going to have to go the c-section route, which I really don’t want to do.
About 90 minutes pass, and we have made a full circle we are at the 24 hour mark for labor, at the same time my first doctor is back on shift a replaces his collogue. He though does not share her thoughts on c-section; he says we can do this natural.
He orders for me to go to the delivery room and the race is off, everyone starts to scramble a bit. My husband gets escorted off to where he scrubs for delivery. And I am on the roll again, through the hospital halls.
The next period of time moves very quickly for me. One thing after another is happening and people are coming in and out of the delivery room for a while. It seems everyone is situated and the doctor arrives, he says we are going to try our first pushes, being this is my first child I need some coaching, not exactly sure what it is I push on. After a little explanation and practice, I give a few good pushes. The doctor says he is going to scrub and be back and we are going to have a baby.
I guess I feel slightly relaxed knowing that everything seems to look fine and we are in the home stretch, at least it seems.
The doctor comes back and we start pushing, we keep going for almost 20 min. This is a lot of work to do over and over again for 20 min. We decide to take a break then we will try again. We go through this cycle 3 times. I am frustrated, crying and at a loss for words completely. What is going on, what do we do now?
After about another 30 min since the last time I tried pushing with the doctor, he returns. He tells me he wants to try a vacuum to help pull the baby out. It seems my daughter has turned herself around and her head is facing the wrong way and it just doesn’t fit so nicely as facing the other way does. So he wants to help her along.
Terrified of the notion that they are about the attach a vacuum to my new daughter head and try to pull her out of me, I try to cooperate as best  I can. Loads of pressure, and they tell me to push, so I do. No luck. We repeat this a few times and they all disappear again.
What can go worse is she really stuck? Why are we doing a c-section like the other doctor said? My thoughts are racing, but my body is exhausted from this marathon, where the ends appears nowhere in sight.
Almost fearful of his return, the doctor reemerges, with what appear to be huge salad tongs, he tells me they are called forceps and will help scoop my daughter out. These things are huge I tell you, I can’t imagine there is room for those too as well as the baby, but they seem determined to try. And try they are doing, but it seems fruitless yet again.
The doctor leaves once again, but he returns quickly this time. He says I need one person for each of my legs; they need to hold them because I am so tired. The doctor walks over to me and asks me, “Do you want to have this baby now?” I tell him of course. He tells my mom and husband to hold my legs way high and then in an instant he doctor reaches down grabs the back of my ponytails pulls my hair hard and yells at me,” Get mad and push that baby out!”
Terrified, I am pushing for my life, eyes darting from face to face, wondering if this is normal. He pulls harder and I push harder. I am actually afraid so I push for fear. 8 min later my daughter is born, it is finally over.

Friday, February 08, 2013

My juicefast Jan-to-Feb 013

Wow, I feel so different than the way I started. I have allowed myself to grow in whatever way I felt drawn, whatever felt needed. I have sought physical, mental and emotional fitness. I started see what was the root issue to things. I am not a sum of my circumstances, I am who I choose to be, so if I want to change what I see, I will have to choose to.

I have moved past so very old emotional scars, and I have allowed people old and new into my life. I have seen who I really am and was it possible and I WANT that! I am going ot do some recaps of what I captured on Facebook and add the stuff I didn't post. The other side of the Facebook page.

I am also going to be more active in my challenges. I am going to try to do things every day for 3 weeks. They say it takes 21 days to form a pattern, Let's see.

In between challenges, I will take one week off then start the next one. I have never been afraid to try something and I am much faster off the line than crossing it. So I have until the night of Valentine's Day to figure out my next challenge. I am hoping that by continuing the blog and adding my reflection on the last challenge, it will help guide me to the next one in need a the time.