Book info


From the to-be-published “tell all” book which will also feature portions of The Wall of Shame. Also visit bookstore for other books available.

• Aaaah … The Early Years

• The Family … Say “Cheese”

• The Best of Times

• High School. I Think I Was There?

• Higher Learning? What Was That?!

• Love Is Pain (You Think?!)

• The Really, Really “Jacked Up” Years

• Get It Together, Girlfriend!

• Things To Do Today: Find Another Job.

• It Gets Better? It Only Can Now?

• What I’ve Learned

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Book Excerpts

Aaaah … The Early Years

In looking back, there’s a mixture of blessings and never ending nightmares that a child can never comprehend….. I was born and raised in New Orleans, which had its advantages and disadvantages. Non-stop parties (“somebody died?…funeral pard-aye…somebody had uh bay-bee?…new bay-bee pard-aye…somebody lost uh dolla?…raise anotha dolla pard-aye…who got da king cake doll?…well pard-aye at yo house next”), plenty of good food, and lots of family events… My earliest childhood memories are of living in the Calliope Projects, directly across from St. Monica’s Church, and being in a foot cast at age four… Very fortunate to not have lost my foot, but it was nothing compared to everything else lost, like trust and innocence. Born during the intensity of desegregation, yet raised by a mother who never taught her children to hate others. As far as I knew there wasn’t a world of separate but equal. People were just either nice or mean, and mean being “they don’t offer any cake or candy at their house”, or “I can’t watch cartoons in peace” (as if it was serious info to know). Whenever I see a child of age 4 through 11, I get quiet because most of the time I remember what it was like for me at my age, and the things I had to think about daily, things a child should never have to know or think about. The first thing I wonder when I see a child is if they’re ok and how much they’re aware of around them. Then, unfortunately, I start to look at their parents and their parents behavior and wonder if the parents know how important their role is in that child’s life. More important, I hope someone can speak on their behalf even if the child can’t, because my earliest memories were not pleasant and no one spoke for me or about it until it was too late. The memories stand out as one of the most horrific events a child can experience, and one that no one should ever have to experience….

The Best of Times

The best times, as they should be, were early school days. Going to school. Discovering new things. Our first home when I was 6, a new home with a backyard big enough to get lost in and a neighborhood full of people who’d become my biggest influences even today. The “always something going on” neighborhood, which included local celebs (newscaster Warren Bell, DJ Larry McKinley, and respected jazz musician, Mr. Louis Chevelliér, who was such a humble quiet man with 3 cute sons, one of whom had the sweetest crush). The joy of making a new friend. Not knowing what hate of others meant, even hate of mean people who were just funny people to mock when really bored. Being yelled at to come inside when it got dark and trying to argue for a few more minutes to finish the intense hop skotch game or hula hoop contest. Playing Pokeno, Monopoly, “Smut”, Pity-Pat and other games on someone’s front porch with someone’s mom telling us to keep the noise down. 1-2-3-Redlight and all of us giving the evil eye to an oncoming car which interrupted the all important game. Someone bringing home a new phono album or hit 45. Trips to the candy store. Big birthday cakes from McKenzie’s or Gambino’s Bakery. Watching one of my dogs, Sassy, have puppies or having her literally smile and come flying down the street to me when she saw me coming home from school. Pulling Sassy off the mailman every week. My other dog, Big Bully, who was a very protective golden lab almost twice my size. Saturday chores — mowing the big ass front and back lawn and trimming the hedges, leaving them COMPLETELY lopsided, but grinning so wide as if some great task was done, while my mother looked horrified at our weekly yardwork. Could barely hold the clippers, but it was gonna get done so I could head off to play. The “Latch-Key Neighborhood Kids”: Dana, Jerome, Michelle J., Ingrid, Christopher C., Michelle E., Wendy, Chub, Malcolm, Dwayne, Roderick, Glenda, Tammy, Darren, Jackie, Cecelia, Joyce & Kenneth, and so many other neighborhood friends who made you forget time and that the rest of world existed. But unfortunately, no matter how much time I spent with friends, I still had to return to the world that existed inside my home, while waiting anxiously for the next chance to escape again. School was the best escape. Ironically, the first day of school…

High School. I Think I Was There?

Kennedy High (key word being “High”) alumni include Vance DeGeneres (yes, Ellen DeGeneres’ brother), Jonnelle Kennedy (actress) and other well-known folks. But unfortunately, the same school also produced David Duke, his Aryan-ness, so, so much for that!

By the time I started high school, I just thought I knew everything. But don’t we all at that age. So smart, we’re dumb and missing the point of it all. High school was like a job. Instead of enjoying it and using it to my advantage, I just wanted to get it over with. All I knew was do the homework, and do it right. But I spent equally as much time cutting class as I did doing homework. I’d cut class just to do homework sometimes. Cut class so much, when it was Senior Skip Out day, I showed up to attend school because I didn’t know about it. I even cut a class with a teacher that I had for 2 different periods, 2nd and 6th. Oh man, wrong class to cut, ’cause this teacher didn’t play.

But I passed the classes by doing the work and the teachers would always say “you’re so smart”, which would go in one ear and out the other, because I was thinking about cutting the next class. Got better grades than many who sat in class daily. I cut class so much I wasn’t able to officially graduate until I made up the “class cut” time, at the specific request of the principal. This was the same principal 6 of us were running from to get to the car and head out to the lake or someone’s home to chill. We were so stupid, we were running, and so was the principal, as if she wouldn’t recognize us, like there were millions of kids there. I was able to participate in the graduation ceremonies, but my diploma was on “lock-down” until I made up the time. I also wasn’t allowed to be present in any yearbook photos at the request of the principal. There is a blurry shot of me with the entire class at the Class Night ceremony. Only my name was allowed to be listed as a graduating senior, and relieved it was spelled correctly in yearbook. Wouldn’t have been surprised to see “Most Likely To Cut Graduation” next to name. My incorrect name (“Tamara”) on senior class shirt wasn’t as shocking as seeing it there. If it was 2002, I’m sure that same principal would be sued by someone’s parent as it’s not like you can redo the yearbook!

Now making up the class cut time, was a whole other game, along with high school in general. Peer pressure? I think I would have had to be there regularly for that to be a factor. But kids will find a way to be ridiculous in one way or another…

Things To Do Today: Find Another Job.

Best bosses: Diana, Anthony P., Mitch, Steve Co., Steve Ch., Cameron, Ed, Jerome, Toni, Don S., Wynn. Worst bosses: Julie, Kristin, Christophe, Anowar (indirectly), Elsa, Betsy, Marsha, Channler (indirectly), and anything that even looked or thought like them. Worst managers I’ve seen on the face of earth and who were paid ridiculously, ironically, to be ridiculous: Maria, Bob, Rindy, and Kevin. If only companies paid based upon integrity. Their savings would be astronomical!

Ironically, 2 of the worst worked side-by-side with one of the best, but they couldn’t be more different. What made the good ones good? Their level of integrity, focus and common sense, for starters. …And why the others were the worst, or were some of the worst slackers on the face of the earth, who ironically spent their days wondering where I was (hmmm…more than likely avoiding them!). Some days it was more difficult going to work than others. Dealing with depression, office scandals, gossip, along with a psycho boss and everything that shouldn’t be in an office, was an automatic trip to the beach (“hmmmm…Santa Cruz or put up with this nonsense…man, oh man, what to do?”). It’s a wonder I never cussed any bosses out…well, I guess this would be it, or maybe the “you must be crazy” look on my face was enough.

But I was very fortunate to work side-by-side with some of the most respected, intelligent and humble industry leaders and “worker bees” who made shit happen, and who still rank far above current “industry leaders”. I learned so much about myself, not to mention discovered why some things in school just didn’t interest me. My first most important book given to me from the great, funny and smart Jeff, was called “A Book On C”. Here’s a guy writing major applications and he’s proofing my homework…. And I didn’t need a school or library, I had THAT all around me daily, as friends, mentors and judges. They were the people creating products and code for the foundation of products people STILL can’t wait to get their hands on (Palm, Apple, TiVo, networking products, and more).

However, years before even having the first clue about bits and bytes, I was probably the only secretary writing applications to keep track of my boss’ appointments, which allowed him to receive daily updates automatically with a click of a button. The funniest, yet not so funniest, thing was at Cadence Design Systems and setting up automation for another admin who was constantly “calling in sick” for personal reasons (like a 2-day perm) on days when the classrooms needed to be set up (hmmm…what a coincidence), and I had to cover for her AND do my job. But anyway, this “person” created the same letters weekly ONE AT A TIME!! ….but in the end the response from her was, “I like doing things this way” (as in one at a time).

Apparently, that was her only job skill. Automating that skill created a void, as in “what else would she do?”, or “would anyone find out I can’t do anything else?”. Well…that mentality is common, even today. Whereas I saw it as an opportunity to expand job skills in other areas, or hell, even take a longer lunch break, “get cha toes done along with ya hair!”. Didn’t matter though, with the right words and smile, she went on to become a long-time Executive Secretary to Joe Costello at Cadence, but, of course, had an assistant. Ironically, another secretary, who’d become my boss’ wife said, “have you ever thought about taking a programming class?”, and my response was with agitation, “I don’t have time for that” (too stressed from doing my job and someone else’s!). I guess it was easier for me to take the long road too! But, the long and painful road was definitely not a waste of time because of…

More Excerpts Coming One Day! But who really cares right?

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