Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sandy Salton

My family has lost a great man - and although I never really got to know him, I feel like this story is worth sharing.

My husband's Grandfather, Sandy Salton, passed away yesterday afternoon after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.  Before going to a nursing home, my husband told me that he, his father and grandfather often played a game called 500.  For those who don't know how to play, it's a 4 person card game that follows the rules of trump (ie if Hearts are trump, the Jack of Hearts is highest, Jack of Diamonds is second, then all hearts starting with the Ace are highest).  The 2s and 3s of the deck are set aside,10 cards are dealt to each person and 5 cards are put in the middle. (This game also had a Joker, which is the highest Trump)

My husband shared with me that the game was often one of strategy debate.  Did your partner play correctly?  Sometimes the hints one can drop when bidding, or laying a card first can be misread and this often sparked a debate amongst those playing.

I never played cards with Sandy, but I visited him in the nursing home a few times.  After I got engaged, my husband and I made a trip to the nursing home after a wedding shower, and I think a few times after that.  Each time, my husband excitedly wanted to show his grandfather the beautiful diamond engagement ring.  I would hold it up to him for a few moments and he would typically show an enthusiasm that was apparent despite his condition with limited speech and movement.  For reasons beyond just this - I could tell that he was a very special man.

Yesterday, after learning of his grandfather's passing, my husband wanted to teach me this game of 500 that he often played with his Grandfather, even though there was only 2 of us playing.  He said that he wanted me to know how to play so we could play it with his family this weekend.  We dealt the cards as if there were 4 people and as I was learning, my husband played the other 3 hands (trying to play as if he hadn't seen the other cards).

The cards were dealt after a practice round when I looked at my hand and realized that I needed to bid.  I thought I could take 9 of 10 tricks with the hand that I was dealt (10 is the highest you can bid).  My husband, obviously in disbelief of me being able to have such a good hand, decides I have won the bid and I took the opportunity to take the 5 cards in the middle to exchange for my cards.  At this point, I knew I had all 10 tricks, I laid down my hand and I had...

9 Diamonds and the Ace of Hearts.

Maybe I'm being silly, but I kind of feel like that meant something.  I asked my husband if I thought that his Grandfather could be with us at that very moment, and he said yes.  I explained to him that I felt he was because we were playing "his" game and that when we visited him - I always showed him my diamond.  This time he showed me his.

Friday, December 2, 2011

First Week At My Dream Job

I had an amazing first week at my new job at Iowa State.  My very first day of work reminded me so much of my orientation at ISU back in 2002.  The day consisted of me getting my ISU Card, setting up my email address and registering for classes meeting new people.  I am going to be working closely with the Department Chairs to help coordinate events, write articles and produce a monthly and quarterly newsletter, analyze data and many other things.  The job is a new position that, I like to think, I was born for.

My goal has been to work my ass off.  I have a lot to prove to make them impressed... it IS Iowa State after all.  The people I work closely with are so accomplished that my experience pales in comparison.  I can't wait until I learn more about my position and I'm able to tackle projects that are given to me on a regular basis. 

One of the things that intimidates me the most is the fact that I've been given my very first office.  The fact that I have my own walls and window and door goes kind of hand in hand with the fact that, I feel I've been given a position that comes with a lot of responsibility and I have to respect that honor.  This is one of the best things that's ever happened to me!  If you had told me 2 months ago, or even 5 years ago, that I'd be working in the College of Business I would have laughed at you in your face.  I never thought I could acheive this!!!

Please have a seat in my office.

Where I'm getting my work done.

A view of Curtiss Hall and Ross Hall from my desk chair.

Today I was fortunate enough to attend the retirement party of a secretary of the COB and a former department head.  They had 28 and 20 years of experience at ISU and the speeches given were so moving.  You can really tell that ISU has a really tight knit community and one of the speeches actually made me tear up.  But the best part is that one of the department heads (who I'm still intimidated by) gave a speech and was quite hilarious.  Laughing at the jokes of my superior made me feel much more comfortable - because now I know that humor can go a long way, even with the intellectuals! 

Now that I'm super busy with work, I'm unfortunately not going to be able to sneak in blogging at work anymore... I'm going to try and update on weekends and have the posts publish on a regular basis throughout the week!!!